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Voolla! A Brand New Initiative That Merges Volunteering and Fundraising

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An interview with

Always looking to share innovative ideas with our readers, this issue highlights a new American initiative called Voolla, which calls itself “the new way to give…turning volunteer skills into money for charities.” In this feature story Q&A, Stephanie Downs, founder and “chief volunteer” of Voolla, shares her story and her concept. As Downs explains, Voolla matches volunteers, their skills and their expertise with individuals or companies who need that assistance and are willing to pay for it with cash. While the transaction itself is a commercial one, the volunteer never sees the money. The customer actually pays the agreed-upon fee to Voolla and, once the service is completed, the money is donated to a charity chosen by the customer or by the volunteer or both.

The Voolla concept meshes perfectly with an idea that our late editor emeritus, Ivan H. Scheier, first proposed in his book, When Everyone’s a Volunteer, back in the 1990s. Scheier called it “time tithing” – and maybe, after two decades, its time has come. This feature story helps readers learn more about this innovative initiative and how their organizations can use it.