Skills based volunteers

How skills-based volunteering helps your career and community

Skills-based volunteer projects are gaining popularity at companies and strengthening nonprofits across our community.

From stocking food pantry shelves to cleaning playgrounds and reading to children, volunteers are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations. But beyond these more “typical” service projects, our community partners also report a real need for “skills-based” volunteers – people who can contribute certain professional skills that are beyond the capacity of their staff and budget (for example, if you work in the financial industry, you may volunteer as a financial coach or a tax preparer).

At the same time, many of our corporate partners and donors are increasingly seeking volunteer and team building opportunities that allow employees to utilize their professional skills in meaningful ways. Here are a few ways that United Way connects the two, and how you can take a hands-on approach to strengthening the nonprofit sector, while leveraging your expertise and demonstrating leadership within your company.

Volunteer as a company

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) employees recently volunteered with several of our partner agencies doing skills-based projects. One of their teams worked with South Boston Neighborhood House, leading workshops focused on public speaking, leadership, supervision, and effective communication. Executive Director Kathy Lafferty said that her staff benefited immensely from their work.

“It was SUCH a great day for our staff. They all reported back that they appreciated the opportunity for on-site professional development, that the topics covered were really helpful, and that they had learned so much by the end of the day!”

Click here to find an opportunity for your company or team to share your skills in the community.

Work with clients at our financial stability centers

skill based volunteer hoursOur network of 6 financial stability centers are always looking for financial coaches and people who can conduct mock interviews with their job training clients. And you don’t necessarily have to be a banker to be a financial coach, or an HR manager to do mock interviews. Do you manage your own personal budget? Have a few successful interviews under your belt? Your experience will have tremendous value for clients learning these skills for the first time. It’s a great way for companies to volunteer as a team, and individuals can sign up as well.

Our Volunteer HQ features opportunities in our financial stability centers, as well as other skills-based needs.

Tackle an ongoing project with our industry volunteer groups

Other projects are more in-depth, with volunteers intensively working to solve one issue over a longer period of time, using their own unique expertise. United Way’s two industry groups for young professionals, the Private Equity/Venture Capital Associate Council and Community Builders, a real estate industry group, tackle long-term research and consulting projects, in addition to one-day group activities.

The PE/VC Associate Council last year analyzed survey data from agencies involved with United Way’s financial coaching programs over a period of several months. As a result, they helped us identify positive results and best practices that have been shared and implemented with our partners.

“Traditional volunteering is phenomenal, but United Way’s work with the PE/VC Associate Council presents opportunities to demonstrate thought leadership and apply a defined set of professional skills. Most importantly, you really feel like you made a unique contribution to the project’s overall impact as folks relied on your expertise.” – Fred Pettijohn, PE/VC Associate Council Chair

To learn more about the PE/VC Associate Council, email Jessica Igoe.

Join a Board of Directors

Interested in taking on more of a leadership role with a nonprofit board? Local agencies are always looking for leaders and volunteers to serve on their Boards of Directors. United Way has helped connect several corporate leaders with nonprofit partners whose missions and skill-sets are well-matched. Learn more.

“It is a unique way to leverage what I am good at on behalf of organizations that may not have the same experience that I do. I get satisfaction from knowing that I am helping in tangible ways and in ways that maybe not every other volunteer can,”   – Bo Mlnarik, PE/VC Associate Council member and volunteer.

To get involved, check our Volunteer HQ anytime for current and ongoing volunteer opportunities.

For additional information or questions on how you can set up a volunteer opportunity with your company, email