Focusing on attracting skill-based volunteers can create opportunities to leverage qualified talent and push your organization forward in new capacities.

The need for skill-based volunteers (SBV) to fill organizational roles within the nonprofit sector is becoming increasingly important. Nonprofits are operating on tighter budgets and are stretching resources more than ever before. The idea of skill-based volunteerism is attractive to nonprofits because it presents them with an opportunity to recruit qualified volunteer talent to fill roles not supported by staff.

Skill-based volunteers have an opportunity to provide nonprofits with expertise, enhance their skills, combat new challenges, and differentiate themselves. If opportunities are promoted effectively skill-based volunteerism becomes a win-win scenario for both the organization and the volunteer recruited.

Skill-based volunteerism defined

By definition skill-based volunteerism is the process of a volunteer contributing their expertise in an effort 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 Common Impact report, the value of a skill-based volunteer hour is worth $150, on average.


A few motivations for filling skill-based roles

Greater good

Most volunteers want to provide their expertise in exchange for greater good. Talented people recognize the need and want to have an impact on the community. Even with the increase in skill-based roles being filled the need for more is great. According to research by Fast Company, 92% of nonprofits say they need more pro-bono support.

Stand out in the career field

Many volunteers want to improve their skill-set and reach career goals. Skill-based volunteerism can provide them with an outlet to practice their craft. According to a study, performed by Deloitte, 81% of hiring managers consider skill-based volunteerism in the hiring process.

Corporate opportunity

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 🙂


5 tips for attracting skill-based volunteers

Promote Specific Job Titles / Roles

Skill-based volunteers are looking for opportunities that can leverage their unique skill-set. Nonprofits that want to recruit volunteers with a unique skillset need to be specific when creating job titles and role descriptions.

Organizations should let prospects know exactly what skills they are looking for, in-depth project details, and the desired level of experience. Doing so will help nonprofits find the right candidate for the job. Promoting specific job titles is also appealing to prospects because they can list this information on their resume and portfolio.


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


Offer Incentives

Volunteers like incentives for providing their time…skill-based prospects are no different. Creating a reward and recognition program is a great way to appeal to volunteers regardless of the opportunity they fill. Nonprofits can also use professional development as an incentive when recruiting for skill-based opportunities. Organizations that promote roles as a learning opportunity and chance to make a difference at the same time will be one step ahead of other nonprofits competing for a prospects time.

Focus on Professionalism

Skill-based volunteers are looking to fill opportunities with nonprofits that display a high level of professionalism. Demonstrating professionalism will show a prospect that an organization values its image and their time. Nonprofits can display professionalism to prospects by communicating goals, impact, mission, and values in an organized manner. Organizations can also showcase professionalism by being prepared (from start to finish) for a volunteer to fulfill their opportunity successfully.

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 sites like LinkedIn, BranchOut, and Beyond are great places for nonprofits to connect with talent, build relationships, and promote opportunities. Organizations can find a networking site for just about any skill-set they are recruiting for. Nonprofits can also use social media sites to tap into their connections talent pool and build a professional following.

Create Corporate Partnerships

One of the best ways to find skill-based volunteer talent 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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