So you’ve decided that Solve Up will take your organization to the next level. Like other nonprofits, you’ve engaged volunteers to help with assignments. Perhaps you’ve even used software to facilitate managing them into time slots and helping with logistics. But you sense there is an opportunity to engage them more deeply and you are right!
The Solve Up Opportunity: Solve Up crowdsources skilled volunteer “Solvers” around time limited, project based “Missions” to address nonprofit challenges. The objective is to engage new and current volunteers, along with others who are employees of companies, students and faculty at universities, stay at home spouses, and retirees, to use their skills and experience to design, propose, and implement solutions. While Solve Up can certainly help with your traditional volunteering roles, it further empowers nonprofits to build teams of many or one. Organizations can apply help to ongoing demands and systemic challenges.
How: Organizations post a need which is defined as a Mission. Missions can be tasks but nonprofits should also consider how they might engage broader challenges affecting capacity which hinder growth. Missions should support causes not just symptoms. These causes can be external – how to fundraise better or manage challenges with their local jurisdiction – or they can be internal such as how to improve finance and or HR policies. Here are three example scenarios:
Habitat for Humanity of Anytown, Colorado has been producing homes reliably at 8 a year. But because of their long history, they have more than 200 completed with homeowners paying active mortgages. Though their cash flow is low, their balance sheet with mortgages is significant. They believe that they could be doing something more creative but don’t know how…
HFH of Anytown decides to post their challenge as a Solve Up opportunity. The result is a team of finance and banking professionals come together for 9 months where they work with finance staff, board members and others to design a way to turn their assets into greater cash flow leading to an increase in housing production to 16 homes a year.
The Community Trust offers financial literacy, loan products, and helps its clients build assets. Given the growing need they’ve seen in asset development, they realize a real shortage in lending and banking skills. The Community Trust posts a Banking Mission to recruit a train the trainer team to grow their skills. Historically, nonprofits would recruit volunteers to add capacity. While this is good, they realize that developing a Banking Mission could instill learning tools into their staff development that overcomes a systemic issue.
Community Trust engages Solve Up to post their banking mission and recruit a project-based team. The team will be a group from a bank’s Community Reinvestment, HR (learning and development) and lending officers to design a suite of tools that Community Trust can use going forward. The team also commits to volunteer for six months on the execution of the tools.
Posting is easy
In order to post, you will register and input the following content that you have available:
Organization: Name, Social Links, Description, Website URL, Guidestar URL (Guidestar is now called Candid), Logo image (square format), profile cover image (landscape format)
Mission(s): Title, The Story (What We are Looking For) including image(s) and YouTube video url(s), Experience required? (yes/no) &if yes, describe Age requirement (none/16+/18+)
Note that the Mission can be written as a challenge (essentially the problem) so that your Solvers can come up with solutions and they are not tightly prescribed. We recommend that users be descriptive so error on the side of at least a paragraph about the mission and about your organization.
We strongly encourage you to send your Solve Up Mission Page link to all of your existing volunteers and network. They may possess skills you don’t know about and because they will share with their networks. You may not have all this information but we encourage as much as possible so Solvers have more tools to work on designing a solution with you and one another. Further, Solve Up is the perfect social change network because the more you post and the more others post, the more likely it is that you’ll find solutions because one nonprofit will have volunteer expertise helpful to another so be open and Solve!