Skilled volunteering – Why, How, What

May 3, 2022

Madison Bryant, Communiteer

skilled volunteers, skilled volunteering, online volunteering

You may find this hard to believe but a hammer can’t fix all your household problems. Issues around your home come in all forms and all require a different solution. This is the same for any Not-for-Profit (NFP) organisation. Almost anybody can stack shelves, move boxes and serve meals but only trained individuals can code, lead, advise or design. All NFPs have these problems and a run-of-the-mill weekend volunteer is often not equipped to solve them. Skilled volunteers are the solutions to these problems.

Unskilled & skilled volunteering, what is it?

So, what exactly do we mean when we say the words skilled volunteering? What image does your head conjure up? Unskilled volunteering may be the most familiar kind of volunteering. The teenager, working at a community shelter helping to feed the homeless during the holidays, or a small-town community gathering to plant trees.

These volunteering roles don’t require any sort of specialised training or experience. The beautiful thing about unskilled volunteering is that it is universal, people from all walks of life can join and offer a simple helping hand. Skilled volunteering allows individuals the chance to bring out their unique talents and contribute on a different level.

Skilled volunteers are different and in higher demand. When we talk about skilled volunteers, we are referring to specialists, experts and industry professionals. Individuals with specific experiences and skillsets that other volunteers do not possess. Examples would be data analysts, marketing & public relations agents, programmers, project managers and copywriters to name a few.

Skilled volunteers are brought in to solve niche problems from behind the scenes. Instead of committing time to an NFP’s public cause, they are the ones who build, repair or improve the organisation’s cause from within. Unskilled volunteering helps the cause run, skilled volunteering increases the volume of its success.

The Impact

Skilled volunteers certainly have the capability to explode with the influence they can weave into an NFP or any project they contribute towards. When you have the ear of management or a department head, that is how you know that the actions you take reverberate throughout the organisation.  They offer NFPs the invaluable council that many charities and start-ups wouldn’t naturally acquire through their workforce until at least 10 years in. Skilled volunteers not only help causes but they enact change that reverberates throughout the entire organisation.

The kind of change that skilled volunteers provide enables NFPs’ day-to-day to run more smoothly or they identify problems that NFPs don’t even realise are present. Skilled volunteers are incredibly useful in helping NFPs understand what it is they need. An NFP may believe that they require a new website but when a skilled volunteer comes in, they look at the problem and say “No, you don’t need a new website. You need a new search engine”. Its beauty is that skilled volunteers come from outside an organisation and bring fresh eyes to each problem.

What to do

There is an abundance of ways in which skilled volunteers can have a great widespread impact, including team building activities, hackathons and scoping sessions. Both of these events require people with the experience and knowledge from a skilled volunteer pool. And the best thing about these methods is that they can be done virtually or face-to-face!

Educational Volunteering

Team Building with Purpose

Establishing our awareness of social challenges is essential in moving about our world compassionately and effectively. Employees are also individuals with unique passions, motivations and beliefs. We can adapt traditional corporate team building to something more modern and engaging.

Educational volunteering experiences combine learning with real-world application. Our partner, Team Building with Purpose, works with a number of notable charities, including Habitat for Humanity and Lifesaving Australia. Together they package an interactive session that unpacks the cause, how we can relate to it as individuals, and finally how we can make a meaningful difference.

Team Building With Purpose is the brainchild of Richard Duncan and Claire Turner, who have worked together since 2008. They co-authored and ran Wesley Mission’s best-practice corporate volunteering program since 2015.

The energy and inspiration is channeled into the Communiteer platform where volunteers can choose from over 500+ organisations. Allowing employees the pathway to find their own passion is how we keep them engaged and excited about their impact. Through mutually rewarding events, we’ve mobilized hundreds of corporate teams to make a difference in the world.


Hackathons are a great way to get the creative juices flowing in your team. Ideas are, in a short and pressurized process. Designed, developed, deployed and demonstrated.

1.   Form teams and set the context of the day.

2.   Then volunteers can begin understanding the NFP mission and cause, and their business challenge that will scale impact.

3.   Groups will begin brainstorming and ideating in teams that have a range of applicable skills, such as marketing, finance, information technology and others, to build a holistic approach.

5.   We recognised volunteers for their contribution and encourage them to continue.

Zoom calls are great for setting up Work-from-home (WFH) events. Allowing teams to develop solutions for NFPs that embrace technology, current industry knowledge and enhance their core operations.

Check out Communiteer’s Hack4Good in 2022 with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Australia!

This event engaged 24 employees for a total of 96 hours, directing skills towards 4 community partners.

Scoping Sessions.

Scoping sessions are fantastic for helping NFPs understand the limits and realities of what can be accomplished with the resources available. The fresh eyes of a skilled volunteer from outside the organisation can be invaluable. NFPs can either overestimate their abilities or stretch out their resources to the point with little to nothing gets done. Or not even release what they can even be capable of doing with the right guidance.

These can be full-day sessions, so best to get comfy when planning a scoping session. All involved sit down and discuss the finer details of projects and causes. We define the needs during a sit-down. We consider what hasn’t been considered, explore all possible risks and then lay out a project plan. But these are just two of the many options that a skilled volunteer can bring to the table.

Communiteer and You!

Communiteer is the place where you go to find opportunities and sign up as a skilled volunteer. We support corporates to recruit and engage their teams, coordinating the right opportunities that match your employee’s availabilities and preferable commitment.

With connections to many NFPs, corporations and individuals, Communiteer is your one-stop-shop.

For more information on how corporations can contribute, reach out to our team:

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