New Online Platform Provides Social Change Organizations with a One-Stop Shop for Skills-Based Volunteering

Capacity Commons Enables Organizations to Define and Manage Pro Bono Projects and Measure their Financial Value and Social Impact
Jun 19, 2019 7:00 AM ET
Press Release

ST. PAUL, Minn, June 19, 2019 /3BL Media/ Common Impact, a national nonprofit that designs and implements skills-based volunteer programs, today launched Capacity Commons, a new online platform to accelerate the adoption of skilled volunteerism for social sector organizations. Developed through support from the Charles Schwab Foundation, the new tool increases access to and the effectiveness of skills-based volunteerism by helping organizations plan for, execute and evaluate the financial and social impact of their pro bono engagements. 

Capacity Commons walks organizations through an interactive process to evaluate their readiness for skills-based volunteering, identify capacity-building projects and connect to skilled volunteer sources. It will also help nonprofits calculate the dollar value of a project and communicate the results of effective skills-based volunteer engagements to their stakeholders.

"We’ve seen the effective use of skilled volunteers transform the way organizations think about growth, program delivery and leadership development – but it can be hard for organizations to know where to start. Capacity Commons will make skills-based volunteerism and pro bono accessible to social change organizations of all shapes and sizes,” said Danielle Holly, CEO of Common Impact. "The platform makes it easier for social sector leaders to determine their needs, find the right volunteers and manage successful projects."

Capacity Commons was designed to make engaging in skills-based volunteerism easy for beginners and to support nonprofits, social enterprises and mission-focused organizations in improving the outcomes of their pro bono projects.

Capacity Commons helps users:

  1. Learn about skills-based volunteerism and how it can be used effectively for their organization.
  2. Prepare their organization for skills-based volunteering with online tools that assess readiness and connect them with resources to increase preparedness.
  3. Scope a project perfect for a skilled volunteer by viewing sample peer projects and completing guided exercises to define, value and assess prospective projects.
  4. Find the right volunteers through tips on how to leverage existing networks and connections to online volunteer matching platforms.
  5. Manage their projects with clear, proven best practices such as documenting partnerships, defining clear expectations and processes and combatting power dynamics.
  6. Evaluate pro bono impact with measurement frameworks and sample surveys.
  7. Repeat the process as needed to successfully integrate skills-based volunteerism as a capacity-building resource and leadership development tool for their organization.

“Because of our work on the annual Charles Schwab Pro Bono Challenge, we understand the value of skills-based volunteerism and the exponential impact it can bring to a nonprofit and the community,” said Amanda Lenaghan, Senior Program Manager, Schwab Community Service. “We are excited to support this initiative to expand pro bono opportunities to nonprofits and engage more communities and volunteers in service.”

To access Capacity Commons, please visit www.capacitycommons.org.

About Capacity Commons

Capacity Commons is a collaborative effort that engages a range of leaders in skills-based volunteerism. The tool was developed by Common Impact, a national nonprofit with close to 20 years of experience designing and implementing skills-based volunteer projects for nonprofits throughout the United States. It is generously supported by the Charles Schwab Foundation, which hosts an annual Pro Bono Challenge, one of the country’s largest and most impactful pro bono initiatives. Lessons learned from the Charles Schwab Pro Bono Challenge helped inform the development of Capacity Commons. Additional partners include leaders in the pro bono service space, such as Points of Light, Pyxera Global, Taproot Foundation, United Way Worldwide, CreateAthon, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement and The Charles Schwab Foundation. Learn more about Capacity Commons at www.capacitycommons.org.

About Common Impact

Common Impact is a national nonprofit that works to build a society in which individuals and businesses invest their unique talents towards a shared purpose: strengthening the local communities in which we live and work. Founded in 2000, Common Impact has partnered with Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of the country’s leading nonprofit organizations to create this transformational change through skills-based volunteering. Learn more at www.commonimpact.org.

About Charles Schwab

At Charles Schwab, we believe in the power of investing to help individuals create a better tomorrow. We have a history of challenging the status quo in our industry, innovating in ways that benefit investors and the advisors and employers who serve them, and championing our clients’ goals with passion and integrity. More information is available at www.aboutschwab.com.

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Media Contact:
Debra Caruso Marrone
DJC Communications
(212) 971-9708
debra@djcommunications.com