i-Reach will be an online hub connecting charities with talented professionals who want to donate their skills.
Reach Volunteering has an impressive track record of matching skilled volunteers with the charities that need their expertise. Now it wants to take this process online, creating what CEO Janet Thorne describes as, “the Match.com for charities”.
i-Reach aims to significantly boost the volume, range and quality of skills-based volunteering, by offering an online hub where charities and volunteers can meet, interact, and find their ideal match. As well as connecting charities that need skills with people who want to donate their expertise, the platform will encourage good practice through a range of tools, such as templates and guides.
Charities will be able to access a pool of motivated, skilled volunteers, and more effective ways of recruiting the right person, while volunteers will find lots of help to find the right opportunity, as well as exciting new ways to offer their talents.
“Only a fraction of skills-based volunteering that could happen actually does happen,” says Janet. “Currently, 60% of charities need skills and 48% have a board vacancy.”
The problem, she says, is that professionals and employers are often unsure of what they can offer to charities, or where to find good opportunities, while charities either struggle to define what they need or don’t know how to find the right person.
i-Reach is aiming to change this.
- As of March 2014, development of the online platform is well advanced and it is due to go live this summer.
- Reach has been trialling new recruitment channels in preparation for the new platform and the response has been positive. This has already led to a 60% increase in volunteer registration in advance of full implementation.
- In advance of going live, Reach has made its trustee recruitment service free of charge for most charities, resulting in a jump in demand of over 150%.
- i-Reach aims to significantly boost the volume, range and quality of skills-based volunteering, with a target of 10,000 matches by the end of the third year, helping thousands of charities across the UK to fill their skills gaps.
Reach Volunteering was awarded £50,000 in the second round of the Innovation in Giving Fund to develop, test and bring the project to beta platform stage.
Janet Thorne, CEO
The impact of skilled volunteers: a short story
Helen Strongman as Impact Assessor at Manor Gardens Welfare Trust
Manor Gardens Welfare Trust is a health and welfare charity approaching its centenary. The Trust approached Reach with the idea of recruiting a volunteer with experience in impact measurement. They wanted to capture data that would demonstrate the impact of their stroke survivors’ service. Reach placed Helen Strongman, a market research consultant in the health sector with strong analytical skills, as an impact assessor at the Trust. In eight months, Helen has implemented an impact measurement tool for the service and consolidated the data collection methods and reporting. The quantitative data has been fed into funding applications and strategic planning. The success of her work has also led to the Trust rolling out similar tools for its other services.