Connecting Nonprofits with Professionals

 - Apr 9, 2012
Dana Raviv is a Service Officer with Catchafire, which helps connect nonprofits and social enterprises with volunteers who want to apply their professional skills to further good causes. Dana is responsible for identifying organizations that can benefit from being part of Catchafire, and helps connect them the appropriate professionals in the online community.

In the interview we below Dana explains the business model behind Catchafire as well as their office culture, including how they inspire their team members and help keep them creative.

4 Questions With Dana Raviv, Service Officer at Catchafire

1. How did the idea for the business model come about?
The seeds of the Catchafire business model were planted several years ago when our founder and CEO, Rachael Chong, worked in investment banking. Frustrated that she couldn't find volunteer opportunities that took advantage her professional skills, Rachael left the finance world to start the US division of BRAC, the world's largest nonprofit organization.

Rachael was one of two people responsible for building BRAC's US affiliate. She began to tap her friends and former colleagues for support on short-term, discrete projects that would help build the organization. This freed up her time to focus on fundraising, and proved to be an extremely successful method of maximizing the internal capacity of BRAC USA's lean team.

2. How did you decide to join this sector?
Catchafire exists for two reasons: Firstly, an overwhelming number of social good organizations say they need and want pro bono services but don't know where to find them. And secondly, a growing number of professionals are looking for ways to give back.

The matches we make between organizations and professionals are mutually beneficial. On the one hand, organizations are able to take advantage of outside expertise to further their mission and, on the other hand, professionals have a fulfilling way to contribute to the causes that they're most passionate about. As the matchmaker, our goals are to help organizations build capacity by providing them access to highly skilled professionals who want to support their work, and to provide those professionals with meaningful and enjoyable pro bono experiences.

3. How do you get your inspiration?
At Catchafire, we're constantly inspired by organizations that have effectively tapped into the skills of pro bono professionals who share their passion. We match volunteers based on their professional skills and their cause interests. This way, the organization not only gets the high quality project deliverable but a new advocate for their cause.

Our professionals have gone on to become board members, advisors and donors for the organizations they've been matched with, and we see that continued relationship as one of the greatest marks of success. Seeing the result of a high quality match is our proof that it is possible to build a more efficient and effective social good sector. These success stories are very inspiring.

4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
We have a very warm office culture that nurtures creativity. We work in an open office,
where the sharing of ideas is easy and the cross-pollination of ideas in all aspects of our
work is encouraged.

We also do small things to keep energy and creativity flowing, such as weekly shout outs to team members whose ideas and initiative have done the most to propel us forward. We also keep a running quote board to acknowledge the funniest, wisest, most outrageous contributions from our team members. This week's quote of the week: "How big is your social footprint?"

Join Catchafire
If you're interested in increasing your social footprint, you can sign up and become a Catchafire pro bono professional.