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Oct 2nd, 2023

Uniting Forces to Build Strong Communities

Expand social impact with Catchafire.

Gohar Chichian
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Our communities are strongest when the forces tasked with change–philanthropy, business, government, and volunteers–work together. When united, we shift resources and power back to communities.

These four sectors exist as forces because they have the voice, money, flexibility, and responsibility to take action. However, because they primarily operate independently of one another, there is seldom space for collective impact. As part of Catchafire, we bring the four forces together to make great things happen and create lasting change in our communities. Side by side, we strive to do good.

For over a decade, we have unified forces for impact – What does this collaboration look like in communities on a daily basis?

Over $250 million dollars of nonprofit value created, and over 12,000 nonprofits supported: Through collaborative investment in the nonprofit community, staff can focus on their mission and the issues that matter most.

Over 1 million volunteer hours donated: Volunteers from around the world come together on Catchafire to lend their expertise, build relationships with nonprofits, and give back to causes and cities close to their heart.

A network of 130+ grantmakers and companies in the Catchafire community: For grantmakers, they’re able to go beyond the grant, have a better understanding of nonprofit needs, and build relationships with underserved nonprofits. Companies mobilize their employees to join the platform as volunteers, driving social impact and employee engagement.

“We’ve got to work as one machine working towards a shared set of positive societal outcomes. We get to bring those four forces together.”

Matt Miszewski
CEO, Catchafire

The stories below are examples of what happens when we come together to build stronger communities.

Companies encourage their employees to find their cause.

The MassMutual Foundation activates connections and untapped opportunities within communities so that all families can build their financial capability and thrive.

The MassMutual Foundation partnered with Catchafire to connect their talented employees with nonprofits. It gives MassMutual employees the opportunity to lend their expertise and give back to the community. Since 2021, MassMutual employees have donated nearly 800 volunteer hours and created almost $240,000 in value for nonprofits.

Companies partner with Catchafire to drive social impact through employee volunteer programs that:

  • Provide events and team volunteering opportunities
  • Invest in employee engagement, professional development, and skill building
  • Meet CSR goals with real-time reporting
  • Elevate company brand with media-ready impact stories

“Making a difference in the community means more than providing financial assistance through corporate philanthropy. The intellectual capital resident within MassMutual and companies all across the country represents a highly valuable asset that can help nonprofits in significant ways. Catchafire provides us with the means to connect our very talented and generous employees with specialized volunteer opportunities.”

Dennis Duquette
President, MassMutual Foundation

In Detroit, our work with The Skillman Foundation is supporting the next generation.

With over 22,000 nonprofits of all sizes, Detroit is home to a dedicated nonprofit community. The Skillman Foundation wanted to give capacity building support to organizations providing wraparound services to Detroit youth. They partnered with us in 2020 to strengthen the nonprofit ecosystem in Detroit and provide extra resources for their partners. Now in year four, the partnership has helped create over $1.4 million in value for Detroit nonprofits.

In the first year of their partnership, The Skillman Foundation opted for a unique approach to supporting Detroit nonprofits. Rather than merely providing its partners with access to resources on Catchafire, it widened its net of access and targeted additional youth-serving organizations in Detroit that did not fall within the Foundation's traditional funding guidelines. Catchafire was able to amplify the Foundation's equity strategy by providing it with a recommended list of youth-focused and resource constrained organizations–ones that The Skillman Foundation would otherwise not be able to give to.

The extension of these resources to a wider range of nonprofit partners was a game changer for the organizations who may have previously been identified as not grant ready. Four years later, these organizations are all still benefiting from access to Catchafire as a source of capacity support, and the Foundation has seen nearly double its ROI. The Skillman Foundation has become a regional catalyst for Detroit, contributing to a state-wide approach and improving the nonprofit ecosystem throughout Michigan.

Partnering with Catchafire allows foundations to:

  • Take their grant dollars further
  • Provide flexible, year-round support for grantees
  • Build relationships with underserved nonprofits
  • Understand nonprofit needs and trends

“Too often, organizations working closest to an issue receive the least support. In Detroit, that inequity gets compounded by race. Catchafire is linking Detroit’s Black leaders and leaders of color to pro-bono resources so they can strengthen their organizations without having to sacrifice service to the community.”

Terry Whitfield
Program Officer, The Skillman Foundation

For volunteers worldwide, Catchafire is a place to come together to do good.

Located in Washington D.C, Negotiation Works is a nonprofit that provides negotiation and self-advocacy training for people who are emerging from difficult and often traumatic situations, such as incarceration, homelessness, addiction, and domestic violence. Training includes role playing activities that are designed to resonate with life experiences, and everyday situations such as landlord/tenant issues, child custody cases, employment situations, and consumer disputes. Their programs are designed to help survivors develop the skills they need to navigate everyday challenges and live the next chapters in their lives confidently and productively.

Negotiation Works turned to Catchafire for help on expanding their services to reach the Spanish-speaking community in DC. They matched with Victoria, a volunteer from Sacramento, CA, to translate all of their resources into Spanish. Victoria is a certified professional translator with a passion for building communication bridges between cultures. With Victoria’s help over several months, Negotiation Works built an archive of resource materials in Spanish, allowing them to expand the reach of their services. An added benefit of Victoria’s work was relationship building; Negotiation Works now has a repeat volunteer they can rely on, a friend, and new supporter of their mission.

“Victoria has been professional, enthusiastic, and very efficient in creating impeccable translations of our dozens of role plays and other materials. Her work is so impactful for our organization, because it allows us to broaden our reach to the Spanish-speaking community. Through all of her work with nonprofit organizations on Catchafire, she has had an incredible overall impact -- exceeding $1,000,000 worth of services to the community.

Beyond that, I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from Victoria. Not only is she a wonderful translator and volunteer, but she is also a lovely person who I now call a friend.”

Melissa R.
Executive Director, Negotiation Works

“Working with Melissa is a joy. She is so professional and kind. We built rapport right away, and her translations have become a thrill in my days. Supporting her organization provides meaning to volunteering; being part of a cause that gives hope and improves the world is fantastic. Melissa has more projects ahead, and we will work together; thank you, Melissa!”

Victoria E.
Catchafire Volunteer

Volunteering on Catchafire provides everyday people with invaluable opportunities to:

  • Build their resumes and portfolios
  • Develop relationships with community organizers and nonprofits
  • Support causes they’re passionate about
  • Receive custom impact pages they can share with your network

In San Francisco, we’re working with the local government to strengthen the public sector.

Since 2019, we’ve partnered with the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) to forge a stronger connection between the government and their local nonprofits. Catchafire's partnership with OEWD became critical with the onset of the pandemic and need for recovery. San Francisco is home to over 6,500 nonprofits delivering critical resources to support underserved populations in the Bay Area.

In San Francisco, 89% of nonprofits using Catchafire have a budget size of less than $5 million annually, and 78% have a staff size of less than 25 people. Since the program’s start in 2019, we’ve seen nearly five times the return on investment (ROI). To date, volunteers on Catchafire have created over $2.1 million in value and supported 105 nonprofits. These volunteers have donated over 10,000 hours toward project support in key areas such as marketing, IT, and organizational strategy.

Data has been key to innovating local government.

  • What programs they should be supporting
  • Areas where they can invest more money
  • Areas of the community that can grow with their investment
  • How to design more culturally relevant programming
  • How this data can inform their policies

“The Office of Economic and Workforce Development through San Francisco’s Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative values our partnership with Catchafire. Our partnership is essential to supporting our nonprofits; allowing them to engage with a diverse range of volunteers who are vital to the mission of our programs and to the impact of the communities they serve.”

Jerry Trotter
Nonprofit Resource Development Specialist, San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development

Catchafire is an empowering catalyst for change, uniting government, philanthropy, corporations, nonprofits, and volunteers with a shared purpose to make a profound and positive impact in communities across the globe. When grantmakers, government, companies, and volunteers come together, anything is possible!

Get involved on Catchafire

Join the Catchafire community today–if you’re a government entity, nonprofit, grantmaker, or company, and would like to learn more about Catchafire, let’s connect. Email us here.

If you’re interested in lending your expertise as a volunteer, sign up here and get started.

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