Common Impact Blog

Skills for Small Businesses: Common Impact commits to leveraging skills-based volunteering to help small businesses recover and thrive for the long-term

By Admin | Apr 22, 2021

Through more than 1,500 capacity-building engagements in the last two decades, Common Impact has delivered $40M in social return on investment to communities across the U.S. and beyond. We recognize that the deep, systemic infrastructure challenges that exist within the nonprofit sector are also affect small businesses. While these challenges rest within a different context and environment, we see the value our skilled volunteering model and technical, financial, and strategic expertise could have for struggling local businesses. It is a natural and exciting extension of our work, and last week Chelsea Clinton helped us announce a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action. Check out Chelsea’s announcement here.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank’s 2021 Small Business Credit Survey, 56% of small businesses have had to reduce operations in response to COVID-19 and 48% modified their operations. More than half of small businesses (57%) reported that their financial condition was “fair” or “poor” and BIPOC business owners reported struggling at even higher rates (66% of Hispanic, 77% of Black, and 79% of Asian proprietors).

Small businesses – the bookstores, landscaping services, family restaurants, neighborhood dentists, and so many others – are vital components of our economy and communities and central to Common Impact’s mission of alleviating inequality. We’re kicking off our commitment through a pilot program with NYC Service, Volunteers for Small Business Recovery, through which we’ll match skilled corporate volunteers with small business owners in the NYC neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 and have large BIPOC communities. Modeled on Common Impact’s Pro Bono Hotline, the program pairs volunteers and small business leaders for an hour of consultative advisory support on tough marketing, HR, strategy, or operations challenges.

If your company would like to partner with us to expand our skills-based programming for small businesses, we’d love to hear from you at


Watch CEO Danielle Holly introduce Volunteers for Small Business Recovery in the “Pandemic Entrepreneurs: Necessity Jobs for COVID and Beyond” session at the Clinton Global Initiative’s future of work panel series.