Updated: 5/16/2023

By leveraging skill-based volunteers, nonprofit organizations can tap into a valuable pool of qualified talent and take on new challenges. Discover the benefits of skill-based volunteerism and how nonprofits can engage and recruit top talent with these 5 essential tips..🚀🤩

The demand for skill-based volunteers (SBVs) to fill organizational roles within the nonprofit sector is growing in significance. Nonprofits are operating on tighter budgets and stretching their resources more than ever before. The concept of recruiting volunteers with specific skill sets is appealing to nonprofits as it offers them the opportunity to engage qualified volunteers who can fill roles not supported by staff or with limited bandwidth.

Skill-based volunteers have the chance to provide nonprofits with expertise, enhance their skills, tackle new challenges, and distinguish themselves. Effective promotion of skill-based volunteer opportunities creates a win-win scenario for both the organization and the recruited volunteer.

Professionals want opportunity. According to a study by Deloitte, approximately 63% of surveyed professionals prefer volunteer opportunities that allow them to apply their skills and expertise.

Skill-based volunteerism defined

By definition, skill-based volunteerism is the process of volunteers contributing their expertise to directly support the operations of a nonprofit. It is not uncommon for skill-based volunteers to provide support to key business functions, including marketing, accounting, operations, and legal.

According to a report by Common Impact, the average value of a skill-based volunteer hour is estimated to be $150.

A few motivations for filling skill-based roles

Contributions Toward the Greater good

Most volunteers are driven by the desire to utilize their expertise for the greater good. Talented individuals acknowledge the importance of making a positive impact on the community. Despite the growing number of skill-based roles being filled, the demand for such volunteers remains high. Research conducted by Fast Company reveals that 92% of nonprofits express a need for additional pro-bono support.

Opportunity to stand out in the career field

Many volunteers aim to enhance their skill set and achieve career goals. Skill-based volunteerism can offer them a platform to refine their craft. According to a study conducted by Deloitte, 81% of hiring managers take skill-based volunteerism into consideration during the hiring process.

Opportunity Offered by Employers

Another study, by Common Impact, found that nearly 50% of corporations report having a skill-based volunteerism program in place for employees. Some employers offer employees with incentives to provide their time.

These motivations are important for nonprofits to consider when recruiting volunteers for skill-based roles. Here are 5 additional tips for attracting skill-based volunteers 🙂


Top 5 Ways to Attract Talented Volunteers with Specific Skills

Promote Specific Job Titles / Roles

Skill-based volunteers seek opportunities that can leverage their unique skill set. Nonprofits aiming to recruit volunteers with specific expertise should provide precise job titles and detailed role descriptions.

Organizations should clearly communicate the required skills, project details, and desired experience level to potential volunteers. This approach helps nonprofits find suitable candidates for the positions. Additionally, promoting specific job titles is appealing to prospects as it allows them to highlight this information on their resumes and portfolios.

Organizations can use volunteer management software to create appealing job titles, descriptions, and a streamlined volunteer recruitment process! 

Offer Incentives

Volunteers, including skill-based prospects, appreciate incentives for their time and effort. Establishing a reward and recognition program is an effective method to attract volunteers, regardless of the nature of the opportunity they engage in. Nonprofits can also leverage professional development as an incentive when recruiting for skill-based roles. Organizations that position these roles as valuable learning experiences that contribute to making a difference will gain an advantage over other nonprofits competing for volunteers’ time and attention.

Focus on Professionalism

Skill-based volunteers seek opportunities with nonprofits that exhibit a high level of professionalism. Demonstrating professionalism indicates to prospects that an organization values its image and respects their time. Nonprofits can showcase professionalism by effectively communicating goals, impact, mission, and values in an organized manner. Being prepared from start to finish to ensure volunteers can fulfill their opportunities successfully is another way for organizations to exhibit professionalism.

Check out this interesting post from Forbes on how to promote professional growth at a nonprofit.

Leverage Networking / Social Media Sites

Professional networking and social media platforms such as LinkedIn, BranchOut, and Beyond offer excellent opportunities for nonprofits to connect with talent, establish relationships, and promote volunteer opportunities. Organizations can find networking sites tailored to specific skill sets they are recruiting for. Additionally, nonprofits can leverage social media platforms to tap into their network’s talent pool and cultivate a professional following.

Create Corporate Partnerships

One of the best ways to find skill-based volunteers is by focusing on creating valuable corporate partnerships. As stated earlier in the post, almost 50% of corporations (at least the ones surveyed) have some form of a corporate volunteer program. Nonprofits can create corporate partnerships by communicating the benefits of a program to business leaders in the community.

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