Words by Tess Becker
Getting off the ground for nonprofits can be incredibly difficult. A lot of the smaller operations have little exposure and not much manpower to drum up funding. When you’re starting with little-to-no help, it can sometimes feel impossible.
That’s where an organization like Catchafire comes in.
Catchafire is a platform for nonprofits to find support and grants for their projects, from a massive pool of over 1 million volunteer experts and more than 130 philanthropic organizations that help fund it all.
Their goal is to serve nonprofits in a way that nonprofits serve us in times of need.
“We want to see communities be stronger and the way that we do that is through uplifting nonprofits,” Catchafire Communications Manager, Latesha Kelly, tells Smiley News. “Nonprofits are who residents trust and who we all turn to in trying times. I think each one of us really could have a story about a nonprofit that we've either helped to enable them to help someone else or that we've worked for directly.
“So we do what we do to change that, to give them what they deserve.”
Especially for smaller nonprofits or nonprofits focused on BIPOC issues, the first few months of operation can be overwhelming, and a lot of times those organizations don’t even know where to look for funding. Catchafire helps direct funding to those organizations.
“In the first year alone, working with Catchafire helped us deliver over $400K in impact for 30 organizations,” says Laura Rath, Vice President of Programs at the Archstone Foundation.
Catchafire has a whole host of partners from nonprofit partners, volunteer partners, grant-making partners, and corporate partners as well. As an organization, it works with bigger funding-providing entities to provide free access to their platform for most types of nonprofits, but they recently started a program that offers any BIPOC organization free access to the platform without any funding need.
Once the nonprofit is a part of Catchafire, it can utilize a handful of things, from people experienced in working with nonprofits, including webinars, professional coaching, and connecting with grantmakers.
They also help connect people looking to help support nonprofits with the nonprofits themselves.
“Imagine you are a [grantmaker], and you want to equip nonprofits in whatever state you're in," Latesha says. “And so you would provide us with a set of nonprofits in your area, and we would reach out to them on your behalf, letting them know they have this free capacity-building service or resource available to them. The rest is history!”
In general, they just want to show people that everyone can help out in different ways – and that nonprofits deserve more exposure.
“I want people to think that everyone can get involved by giving a skill and that nonprofits deserve more,” Latesha says.
She also highlights how often nonprofits are the bedrock of our support.
“We know nonprofits, especially in the last few years, are overextended and communities are looking to their nonprofits should be their safety nets,” she says. “So nonprofits deserve to have the same access to consulting like freelancers pro bono support, just as much as for-profit organizations are able to access those services.”
Get involved with Catchafire or find out nonprofits in need of volunteers by visiting their website.