Catchafire, a new way to look at pro-bono

Catchafire_gwyga Pro bono is from the latin phrase, for the public good.  Generally used by professionals who give their services away for free.  Lawyers are the first thing that probably comes to mind.  I believe it is recommended by the American Bar Association that lawyers contribute a certain amount of their time for free over the course of each year.  What an amazing world it would be if every professional gave away 50 hours a year of their time for the public good.

This week is National Volunteer Week.  I am thrilled to be part of Catchafire's Powerful Woman Campaign in support of National Volunteer week. I much prefer the word pro bono over volunteer.  To me, pro bono means that you are taking your professional skills be it writing code, marketing guru, architect or logo designer and giving your services to an organization that could never afford to hire someone as well versed in your particular skill as you are. 

The hardest part is how do you find an organization that would want your services.  There is now an answer for that Catchafire.  Catchafire, a company that I am involved with and have written about before, has created a data base of non-profit organizations looking to fill certain short-term projects with professionals.  We have also created a data base of qualified professionals to match the needs of the non-profits and we need more.  A social good organization that charges a fee to the non-profits for the service of matching the right professionals with their project.  By charging a fee we are making the non-profits put skin in the game. In essence forcing them to really use the pro bono work and manage it properly to insure the success on both ends. 

Currently we are doing this in NYC only but there is no doubt that we plan on rolling this out across the country and eventually the globe.  If everyone could give back their knowledge and skill sets for so many hours a year to make an impact in the non-profit world that is trying to do public good…wow, think about what we could be accomplished.  The world would definitely be our oyster. 

Click on Catchafire today and sign-up.  Think about Catchafires tag line….give what you are good at and be part of National Volunteer Week by doing a little pro bono work.   

Comments (Archived):

  1. shellylipton

    Hope to see you there Joanne!Shelly

  2. dbcsg

    I learned of Cathafire today on TWIVC (great interview, so much energy there that you and Mark usurped the power grid!), coincidentally I have gotten involved in doing pro bono work for a non-profit (@SustainableStyl), just as of last Wednesday. I mentioned it in the chat room (@dbcsg), hoping you can come to the popup resto in the Bowery they’re planning for May, will email you more info. Meanwhile 1) will sign up for Catchafire 2) will tweet about Powerful Woman Campaign 3) wd love to discuss how I may be able to support Cathafire efforts over time to roll out to other cities. Awesome show today, thank you for taking your time to share your experience with us.

    1. Gotham Gal

      popup resto…will definitely come to. looking forward to speaking offline.

  3. Susan

    Joanne, Thanks so much for writing such a great post about Catchafire! I couldn’t agree more with how wonderful this organization is for matching incredibly talented volunteers with nonprofits that can truly benefit from their experience.I manage communications for MOUSE, a nonprofit organization (that you have written about in the past) which empowers underserved students with technology and leadership skills essential for success in the future.We registered for a online marketing project through Catchafire a few months ago and are currently working with an extremely impressive professional, with extensive experience in this area. In just a few weeks, he has already added tremendously to one of our projects using Google Adwords. We feel very fortunate to being working with him and look forward to using Catchafire for other opportunities in the future. It is terrific!!

    1. Gotham Gal

      This is fantastic to hear. Knowing Mouse and how professional and well runthe organization has always been means that Catchafire is doing a great job

  4. RyanComfort

    Just found out about an event here in Boston with the founder of Catchafire… I knew the name sounded familiar and when I visited their Web site, I knew which one of my go-to bloggers would highlight such an organization.  I really look forward to meeting the founder next week.  Thanks for putting such a great organization on my radar!