10 Tips on How to Volunteer Your Business Skills to a Nonprofit
Nonprofit organizations are highly driven in realizing their social missions, but often may do not have the resources to address their strategic, operational and financial challenges. Skills-based volunteerism matches business skills and experience with nonprofit needs, in order to increase their impact on the community. Following are 10 tips to help you volunteer your skills to a nonprofit in need.
- Check out your employer’s policies and make sure that what you want to do is in keeping with them. If they don’t have a skills-based volunteer program, you could be just the person to get things started! Make sure you have buy-in from your management and take a look at Key Considerations for Launching a Skills-Based Volunteer Program for guidance on getting started.
- Take an inventory of your current and past job functions and make a list of the broad areas in which you have professional experience. For example, do you work in marketing, public relations, law, human resources, accounting, finance, technology, strategic planning? Are you a good writer? Do you negotiate well? Are you a strong project manager?
- Make a short list of the nonprofit organizations for which you would like to volunteer your time and talent, and think about what their business needs might be. Remember that they have employees, vendors and potentially customers – just like a for-profit organization.
- Jot down how you could apply your specific abilities to the business needs of the nonprofits on your list. For example, if you work with computers, perhaps you could help an organization that needs a database developed. If you work in finance, you might help the nonprofit’s management perform a cash flow analysis. If you work in graphic design, you could design an event invitation. If you work in human resources, you could offer insights to the nonprofit’s staff on HR processes and procedures. The opportunities are endless!
- Contact the volunteer manager or other appropriate person at the nonprofit to express your interest in contributing business skills and to initiate a conversation about their specific business and organizational needs. Be aware that not all nonprofits are accustomed to using volunteers in this way so it might take a little time and creativity to find the right opportunity. Work together to map your skills more specifically to the organization’s business needs.
- Now that you have more details about the nonprofit’s business needs, go back to the page you started in Step 4 and identify a specific project that you have both the talent and time to complete.
- Outline the plan, even if it’s just a brief note, and send it to the nonprofit. This step should include when you plan to begin, when you expect to finish and what you hope to accomplish. If any out-of-pocket funds will be required for expenses, include a note about the costs and identify whose responsibility it will be to cover them.
- Set aside the time in your schedule to complete your project. If it will be completed over the course of several days or weeks, it can be helpful to schedule time for it on your calendar just as you would for other business appointments.
- At the conclusion of your project, report your accomplishments to the nonprofit. If you can, make sure to let the organization know what the “fair market value” of your support is so that it can be taken into proper account and so that you get the credit you deserve.
- Take a moment to bask in your feeling of accomplishment, but before you get too comfortable, go back to Step 7 and select another project. Your favorite nonprofit needs you and your business skills!
Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.
This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.