Boot Camp Coach Deborah Smith with Edward Hsieh of MassRecycle
Boot Camp Coach Deborah Smith with Edward Hsieh of MassRecycle

Give Time

Each year, the Social Innovation Forum’s community of high-level volunteers provides hundreds of hours of evaluation, mentoring, and capacity-building support to our Innovators and Entrepreneurs.

SIF allows me to utilize my professional and life skills to help social change organizations grow their impact.

There are many ways to get involved and use your skills to increase the impact and effectiveness of high-potential social purpose organizations, including:

  • Nominating a nonprofit organization or social impact business to join the SIF portfolio
  • Volunteering as an evaluator, pitch advisor, or mentor
  • Hosting an SIF event at your home or workplace
  • Attending events to learn and meet others who share your interests.

A selection of volunteer roles is below. To learn more about SIF, our Innovators and Entrepreneurs, and how you might get involved, email Carolyn Shaughnessy at cshaughnessy@socialinnovationforum.org or call us at 617.492.2305.



Select Volunteer Roles
Social Innovator Accelerator
Social Business Accelerator
Sustainability Boot Camp Pilot Program

Select Volunteer Role Descriptions
Social Innovator Accelerator

Nomination Committee (June-July)
Time Commitment: Flexible
During the first phase of SIF’s application and selection process, the nomination committee is critical to helping us identify dynamic nonprofit leaders whose work is achieving significant social impact in greater Boston. Nomination committee members are knowledgeable about the nonprofit field in greater Boston and work with the SIF team to conduct outreach to innovative organizations that would benefit from the SIF engagement.

Evaluation Committee (September-October)
Time Commitment: 3-6 hours application review + one 3-hour review session
During early fall, volunteer evaluators help SIF review semifinalist applications for the Social Innovator Accelerator. Evaluators use SIF’s online portal to read and score applications for one of the social issue tracks and then engage in a one-time, group discussion of the applicants’ strengths and areas for improvement. SIF evaluation committee members often bring particular knowledge and interest in the social issue track on which they are evaluating. This experience provides an excellent opportunity to learn and connect with others in the field.

Interview Committee (October-November)
Time Commitment:  One half-day session
In late October/early November, four to six organizations on each social issue track are invited to the SIF office for an in-person, half-day round-robin interview session. Interviewers review the finalist applications and have an opportunity to meet the applicants and talk with them about their organizations. Interviewers then debrief as a group and provide their perspectives as input for the due diligence and decision-making phase.

Executive Coach (May-February)
Time Commitment: 20-30 hours
The SIF volunteer executive coaching program provides experienced coaches with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to help nonprofit leaders who are focused on social impact. Each executive coach will work with one of our Social Innovators to help enhance his or her personal and professional leadership skills. Executive coaches assist Innovators in developing a set of specific, personal growth goals that will enable them to capitalize on their consulting engagements and other aspects of the Social Innovation Forum program. Executive Coaches must have an executive coaching degree (or equivalent certification), at least five years of professional work experience, and familiarity with or interest in the unique challenges that nonprofit leaders and organizations face. Coaches receive support from SIF staff, lead coach(es), and peer coaches.

Presentation Advisor (February-May)
Time Commitment: 6-8 hours over two to three months
Presentation Advisors work with Social Innovators to provide reactions, feedback, and suggestions on presentation content and delivery for the Social Innovator Showcase event held each May. Strong presentation advisors will have 10+ years of experience in marketing, high level corporate visioning, and/or other experience giving concise, compelling presentations. 

Pitch Panelist (April)
Time Commitment: One 3-hour session
The Social Innovation Forum seeks assistance each year with giving feedback to our Social Innovators before they are showcased to the broader community. During the early part of April, our groups practice and receive feedback from a group of people who are not familiar with their work. Volunteering as a panelist involves attending at least one session and providing constructive oral and written feedback on the Innovators’ pitch presentation at that session. 


Social Business Accelerator

Nomination Committee (October-November)
Time Commitment: Flexible
During the first phase of SIF’s application and selection process, the nomination committee is critical to helping us identify social impact businesses who would be a good fit for the SIF Social Business Accelerator. Nomination committee members are knowledgeable about innovative, entrepreneurial social businesses in greater Boston and work with the SIF team to conduct outreach.

Selection Committee (November-December)
Time Commitment:  10-12 hours
The Social Business Accelerator Selection Committee assists SIF staff in interviewing applicants and selecting social businesses to join the SIF cohort. Volunteers with entrepreneurial and other business experience, as well as prospective impact investors, are particularly helpful in this process.

Mentor (January-March)
Time Commitment: Varies
The SIF Social Business Accelerator is a mentor-driven program and each year we seek to build an active and diverse group of mentors to support our Impact Entrepreneurs. Mentors serve as role models, coaches, and confidantes, offering knowledge, insight, perspective and wisdom to the Impact Entrepreneurs. SIF engages mentors at a range of commitment levels. Some mentors will work closely with an entrepreneur, helping him/her to advance his/her business and hone the pitch for the Impact Investing Forum. Other mentors may attend specific sessions during the accelerator program to provide feedback and guidance on areas of their expertise.

Pitch Panelist (March)
Time Commitment: One, 3-hour session
The Social Innovation Forum seeks assistance each year with giving feedback to our Impact Entrepreneurs before they are showcased to the broader community. During late March, our groups practice and receive feedback from a group of people who are not familiar with their work. Volunteering as a panelist involves attending at least one session and providing constructive oral and written feedback on the Impact Entrepreneurs’ pitch presentation at that session. 


Sustainability Boot Camp Pilot Program

Boot Camp Coach (April-June)
Time Commitment: 12-15 hours over two months
Boot Camp Coaches will work with program participants on developing an effective pitch, a PowerPoint presentation to accompany the pitch, and a one-page prospectus. With support from the SIF staff team, coaches will be expected to provide feedback and suggestions on presentation content and the one-page prospectus, assist program participants in preparation for the Pitch Event, and help them navigate the overall program curriculum. Strong coaches will be comfortable working with entrepreneurial organizations, will have experience in marketing and business strategy, and /or venture capital, and experience in the nonprofit sector/or in the field of environmental sustainability.

To learn more about SIF, our Innovators and Entrepreneurs, and how you might get involved, email Carolyn Shaughnessy at cshaughnessy@socialinnovationforum.org or call us at 617.492.2305

Quote by Jeff Kushner, SIF supporter & volunteer