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Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond launches skills-based volunteering program

Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond (CF) has launched a new initiative designed to help nonprofits develop and post skills-based volunteer opportunities. Called “Skills Connect,” the new online program gives volunteers a chance to find just the right opportunities to give back while at the same time helps nonprofits strengthen their capacities.

CF for a Greater Richmond aims to make the region a better place through philanthropy and bold solutions. For more than a half-century, the organization has been creating space to learn more about regional issues, engage in problem solving and give back in meaningful ways that provide individuals and families the chance to succeed.

The need for skilled volunteers

The Community Foundation recognizes that adequate funding remains an issue for many nonprofits, making it necessary to stretch resources. While nonprofits are working to maximize efforts and efficiently utilizing their resources to achieve greater impact, even that is not enough to meet their many needs.

That’s where Skills Connect comes in.

For tasks requiring specialized skills that may not be in the scope of a given nonprofit, Skills Connect enables volunteers to provide critical support for various projects, especially those requiring specific expertise. As a result, volunteers can readily see the tangible effect that their contributions have on a cause that is important to them. And at the same time, organizations are able to more effectively carry out their mission by taking advantage of the expertise of volunteers.

“Our work guides philanthropy in an effort to improve the quality of life in Richmond,” said Christina Mastroianni, vice president of civic engagement at CF for a Greater Richmond. “Through Skills Connect, we are able to help nonprofits identify specific needs that can be filled by volunteers eager to share their expertise.”

Skills Connect success story

The impact Skills Connect has had can be understood through a case study from SPARC, a nonprofit providing transformative performing arts education to 3,000 students each year:

  • SPARC Program Directors wanted to utilize Excel to make building, managing and assessing programs more efficient, but first needed to strengthen skills in the software.
  • Skills Connect volunteers provided complementary training sessions, an otherwise sizable cost that would have redirected funds from carrying out other aspects of SPARC’s mission.
  • Individualized support delivered through trainings increased proficiency in Excel, boosting confidence in the software among directors and giving them the tools to train future staff.

Getting involved with Skills Connect is as simple as visiting CF’s website and selecting which role applies to you. The rest of the process is self-directed, allowing volunteers to express interest in potential opportunities and nonprofits to accept applicants based on the skills needed for the project.

For nonprofits wondering where to begin, CF for a Greater Richmond offers free training on how to create skills-based opportunities and manage volunteers.

For more information on the Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond and Skills Connect, visit https://www.cfrichmond.org/.

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