Thankfully, it’s an altruistic (mostly) world we live in these days. Depending on where you are, charitable giving and volunteerism is at an all time high: indeed, over the last 40 years public philanthropy has steadily risen to the point where today, Americans—both individuals and families—donate some $335.17 billion to non-profits; businesses and corporations kick in another $17 billion; 64.5 million adults volunteer more than 7.9 billion hours of their time to service in the charitable sector; and, perhaps most telling, there are nearly 1.6 million not-for-profit organizations in operation.
One small—miniscule, really, give the scale of the aforementioned numbers—fraction of these in-kind donations falls into a very specific niche in our country. And that niche is professionals, across all industries and sectors, who choose to support non-profits by giving of their time and talent. In fact, there has been a rise of specific websites that cater to a unique demographic, pairing said professionals—website designers, social media mavens and the like—to non-profits in dire need of aid and assistance.
Take, for example, linkedinforgood.linkedin.com, a branch of the popular networking site which seeks to encourage professionals to give of their skills and make a serious impact in the non-profit world. Essentially, non-profit organizations can highlight their cause by creating a dedicated page that allows them to find essential volunteers through organic supporter relationships. And to date nearly 200,000 nonprofits are already spreading their mission and connecting with talent through these Company Pages.
Likewise, volunteermatch.org allows talented individuals seeking giving-back opportunities the chance to peruse non-profits in need of help while simultaneously allowing organizations to post calls for specific talents and effectively “involve volunteers in the important work of your organization.” Their mission statement spells out the formula quite clearly: “bringing good people and good causes together.”
Surprisingly, for-profit companies are also offering matching tools to help non-profits succeed. Salesforce—more specifically Salesforce Foundation—has their “Power of Us” program in place that leverages user resources and higher education institutions to assist non-profits through discounted software platforms and training, events, apps and webinars.
Other “pairing” websites, those matching professionals with non-profits in need, are out there. The Nonprofit Pro Bono Project: Professionals Helping Nonprofits connects local attorneys and certified public accountants with organizations that need financial and legal guidance. And Catchafire.com gives egalitarian billing to both non-profits and individuals alike: the former can seek out individuals to provide very specific skills and products—a simple logo or a one-time infographic for instance—while the latter can offer their skills in a way that bolsters their personal resumes and offers a career-building caveat.
Professionals giving back: it’s an altruistic penchant that exists across all business sectors, and one that can make a lasting positive impact for any non-profit in need.