The Long-Term Impact of Skills-Based Volunteering on the Social Sector

Sep 27, 2017 10:15 AM ET

New research demonstrates the long-term impact of skills-based volunteering (SBV) on the social sector. As highlighted in our article, The Promise of Skills-Based Volunteering featured in Stanford Social Innovation Review's Fall 2017 issue, Common Impact embarked on a study to quantify the longitudinal impact of SBV on the social sector and heard first-hand about the transformational impact from our nonprofit partners. We reached out to over 400 nonprofits across 21 cities and across various mission areas who have participated in one or more projects with Common Impact. The results represent two decades of data that demonstrates the immediate, positive outcomes of these engagements on the social sector, including:

  • Ability to better serve current constituents
  • Ability to expand services and serve additional constituents
  • Ability to adapt to meet evolving or new social challenges
  • The value of the long-term relationships with volunteers and companies they represent

We’ve also found that reaching these transformational outcomes requires significant forethought and investment from the involved companies, volunteers, and nonprofits.  While many of our partners are able to quantify the impact of SBV after completing a project, our nonprofit alumni study affirmed our findings of the common obstacles that nonprofits face when considering this type of engagement for the first time. The top three barriers from our survey respondents include:

  • Limited resources to implement or maintain the final product
  • A lack of understanding around the overall value of a volunteer engagement
  • An uncertainty about the time commitment required

Although these barriers are real, they are not insurmountable. As skills-based volunteers become more readily available to nonprofits, we at Common Impact want to ensure that we’re sharing the key elements of sustained impact that we’ve gathered over our years as SBV practitioners. Over the next few weeks, we'll be releasing our tried and true best practices in a comprehensive toolkit to help lift all nonprofits who are considering using SBV as a resource over these barriers in order to create long-term, transformational impact for their organizations. Stay tuned for the release of our Nonprofit Skills-Based Volunteering Toolkit in the next few weeks!

Check out the full results from our long-term impact study in our infographic


Interested in learning how your organization or company can measure social impact? Join us in November at Sustainable Brands New Metrics to hear thought leaders share the newest tools & solutions to measure new forms of business value!