skip to content

Skills-Based Volunteering Program Design

Cynthia Lo image

Cynthia Lo @csmlo

Program Manager, Skills-Based Volunteering, GitHub Social Impact

May 24, 2021 // DevelopersSkills-Based VolunteeringEmployeesStrategy

Published on: May 24, 2021

Tech for Social Good is excited to announce the launch of its Skills-Based Volunteering program!

GitHub’s Tech for Social Good portfolio of programs works with social sector organizations to support and strengthen their tech solutions in public health, international development, racial equity, and more. Through our programs, we realized many of the tech challenges social sector organizations face were similar, often specific gaps that GitHub is uniquely suited to help address. To better support these organizations, we created a dedicated Skills-Based Volunteering (SBV) program. SBV was designed as a partnership between social sector organizations and the Social Impact team, with an emphasis on building lasting relationships. Below is a look at how we designed the program to derive optimal impact for these organizations.

Program scoping and design

After conversations with both existing social sector partners and GitHub employees, we concluded the Skills-Based Volunteering program would need to:

  • Sit somewhere between long-term assignments and one-off events like Hackathons
  • Have a structured method of project scoping and engagement with the social sector
  • Require training for employees to understand the principles and best practices of building tech for the social sector.

We created assets for project scoping, profiles of social sector organizations, and webinar training on both tech for social good as a general discipline and on topic areas like racial equity. The program is currently run on a GitHub repo, and we plan to open source a version so other tech companies can use it as a template to launch their own programs!

Process development

Process development is critical to a SBV program, and we’ve identified and built out:

  • An incredible set of social sector partner organizations that provide the volunteer opportunities
  • Project parameters and measures of success
  • Processes for employee and partner organizations to connect and train virtually
  • Regular touch points and end of project surveys to understand employee engagement
  • Ways for employee volunteers and partner organizations to communicate on GitHub repos and through Slack.

Our team is involved in the end-to end-process of recruiting, onboarding, and managing volunteers and partner organizations. The current partner organizations provide volunteer opportunities in public health, racial equity, and climate change, which are often short-term volunteer engagements for employees. Focusing on specific topic areas has allowed us to cater to employee interests, which is great for engagement. It also ensures the number of volunteer opportunities is not overwhelming.

What’s Ahead

Finally to test our design in action, we ran a pilot project with a partner organization. Stay tuned for future posts where @csmlo will cover the pilot project, how we run the program, and how you can get involved.

Related insights