The Williamsburg Health Foundation (WHF) gives organizations more than grants.
“We give organizations a variety of resources to improve their operations,” said Carol L. Sale, President and CEO of WHF. Over the past two and half years, WHF has helped nonprofits by sponsoring membership in Catchafire.
“In our first two years with Catchafire, the nonprofit organizations we sponsored received over one million dollars’ worth of completed projects or consultations from skilled professionals,” said Sale.
What is Catchafire? Catchafire is a web platform where nonprofits can find, interview, and select skilled volunteers to do what they need done. Catchafire.org states, “We’re on a mission to mobilize the world’s talent for good.”
- United Way of the Virginia Peninsula has completed seven projects worth nearly $26,000 on Catchafire. Chief Operating Officer, Charvalla West, writes, “Catchafire provides access to high-level executive professionals willing to share their skills and expertise. In addition to quality products . . . the knowledge that staff gain during these projects in invaluable and further builds our agency’s capacity.”
- Natasha House, which serves homeless, female-headed households, has done 17 projects and calls worth over $50,000 on Catchafire. In September 2021 alone, Natasha House completed three projects: an infographic, a donor letter, and graphic design for a long-term impact report.
Projects on Catchafire are carefully scoped so everyone knows what to expect on timing and deliverables. Catchafire even helps nonprofits and volunteers match up their schedules and reach each other.
- Another star performer on Catchafire is FREE Foundation For Rehabilitation Equipment & Endowment whose website was done by a volunteer from Catchafire. FREE has done 10 projects and calls worth $67,000. “They’ve actually done much more than shows up in their records,” said Sale. “One of those projects is a long-term, long-haul project of creating an inventory system with client and donor integration. They have a great consultant.”
“While we love to see numbers like this,” said Sale. “The stories we hear from nonprofits are what compels us to continue this work. Executive Directors just keep telling us that they cannot believe they got translation services, an employee handbook, or HR consultations at no cost.”
“I think the most productive consulting phone calls usually have to do with organizational strategy or HR questions,” said Allison Brody, Director of Community Engagement at the Williamsburg Health Foundation. “Most nonprofits cannot afford an in-house expert on retirement plans or COVID-19 policies. Catchafire has HR experts from Fortune 500 companies who would love to volunteer.”
“It used to be that nonprofits could only get volunteers based on who they knew in their immediate geographic area. Now, there is an equitable world-wide marketplace for all volunteers regardless of a nonprofit’s size, age, or mission. Catchafire.org is truly revolutionary.” said Brody.
Not every nonprofit agency can be a member of the Catchafire program. The Catchafire business model is to have foundations like WHF purchase memberships for nonprofit agencies. WHF and the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters Foundation (BFSF) have created a shared site – Virginia Peninsula Catchafire. Currently WHF supports 56 health and human service agencies that serve Williamsburg, James City County, and York County; BFSF sponsors 50 agencies that fit its mission and service area.
Sale said, “One day, we would love to see a world in which all nonprofits have access to Catchafire.org. For now, we hope that all those who currently have it are thinking about everything they need to do and asking themselves, ‘Can we Catchafire that?’”
For more information on the Williamsburg Health Foundation visit the website at www.williamsburghealthfoundation.org.
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