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Inspiring stories and best practices about international volunteering - and how it's solving the talent gap.

The MovingWorlds 2014 Impact Infographic and Report

International corporate volunteering photo2014 was a catalytic year for MovingWorlds and we’re excited to share our annual impact report with some key numbers from this past year. We hope you enjoy the infographic below.

As we look ahead to 2015, our goal will be the same: Help social impact organizations solve last-mile challenges and create jobs by addressing their needs for skills and talent. To do so, we’ll continue to expand our matching site which helps skilled professionals find the best place to volunteer their skills. In addition, we’re also partnering with corporations who use our platform, training, and process to connect their employees to skilled volunteering opportunities abroad, enabling people to grow as leaders while helping build a better world.

MovingWorlds 2014 Impact Infographic

Key metrics include

  • 899: The number of work days donated by our Experteers
  • 7,180: Number of hours of professional skills donated
  • 858,000 USD – the value of the professionals services delivered
  • 32: Number of countries Experteers were placed in
  • 5 Days: the shortest Experteering trip
  • 18 months: Our longest Experteering engagement
  • 2: Number of books MovingWorlds has been mentioned in – A Path Appears and Adventures Less Ordinary.

Other Interesting Data Points

Growing and Improving the Industry

A notable part of our mission is to improve skills-based volunteering, whether it occurs within or outside of our network. As such, we’ve open-sourced our best practices and training. Some key metrics include:


Innovation in International Skills-based Volunteering

We strive to lower the barriers related to getting the right skills to the right organizations at the right time. To do this, we need to continue to innovate on behalf of our constituents and partners to:

  1. Lower the costs associated with volunteering overseas
  2. Reduce the amount of time it takes for social impact organizations to connect to and work with Experteers
  3. Keep improving our matching and support website that promotes global connections
  4. Continue to develop and share best-practices, resources, and content to improve the international corporate volunteering industry

In 2014, we expanded and re-launched our matching and planning site to help people find the best place to volunteer their skills, anywhere they want to travel – check out the announcement here.

What’s Next?

We’ve proven that we can – at scale – make quality, skills-based international volunteering matches that are beneficial to all stakeholders: here are just a few Experteering Stories and some highlights from our partners. As we continue to expand, we’re now focussing on how we can engage more people in these engagements. One of the biggest barriers is the ability of skilled professionals to take time away from work. However, the benefits to corporations of having their employees go volunteering overseas are remarkable and well documented. This year, we’ll be working with more companies to help them realize the transformative impact of international corporate volunteering programs on people, planet, and profits.


Thanks for supporting us through another year, and we look forward to achieving even more together in 2015.

Yours in moving worlds,
Derk Norde, Mark Horoszowski, and the entire team.

You can find our 2013 impact report here.

The Surprising Benefits of Volunteering

Aristole quote about service
The power of volunteering has been documented for the last 2,500+ years, however a slew of recent research is shedding even more light onto the surprising benefits of volunteering. Science now proves what great leaders and philosophists have known for years:

“One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” -Gordon Hinckley

Volunteering time makes you feel like you have more time

As published in the Harvard Business Review, researcher Cassie Mogilner explains that those that volunteer their time feel like they have more of it. This is similar to the findings that people who donate to charity feel wealthier. Mogliner explains:

“The results show that giving your time to others can make you feel more ‘time affluent’ and less time-constrained than wasting your time, spending it on yourself, or even getting a windfall of free time.”

Volunteering your skills helps you develop new skills

In addition to on-the-job experience and a master’s degree, skills-based volunteering is second to none in developing skills that can help people get ahead. In fact, skills-based volunteering overseas has been called the next Executive Training Ground. In our experience at MovingWorlds supporting international skills-based volunteering programs for corporations, we have found that skills development in technical and leadership-related skill areas is the primary reason that corporations invest in these programs. There is plenty of research that backs this up, as we recently published in the Devex article, Why Every Company Needs an International Corporate Volunteering Program.  According to a study from George Washington University, researchers found that

“…Beyond ‘stimulating new insights’, international corporate volunteer ‘programs are a better investment than businesses school leadership programs, both in terms of cost and diversity of learning.’ “

Volunteering your body helps you have a healthier body

The fact that volunteering is proven to make you healthier is reason enough to engage in pro bono activities. Its effects are so profound, a study from the states

“Research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better health… those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.”

For more information, review this previously published article Can Volunteering Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease.

Volunteering your experience helps build your experience

We consistently see highly skilled professionals – like investment bankers, accountants, business consultants, and creatives to name just a few – turn to skills-based volunteering as a way to develop their professional experience. And it works. Just a few examples:

  • For those that want a job in international development, volunteering internationally can prove your commitment and give you the field experience you need.
  • Volunteering in a new industry will give you the knowledge needed to switch jobs.
  • If you want to switch careers into the nonprofit sector, volunteering can help prove your commitment and develop knowledge of the nonprofit sector.

Beyond our own research, the New York Times, Forbes, and Wall Street Journal have all previously published how volunteering can help you earn your next job.

“According to the survey of 202 human-resource executives, skilled volunteer work—such as helping a nonprofit with its finances—makes job applicants look more appealing to hiring manager.” – Wall Street Journal

Here are some tips to add your volunteering experience to your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Volunteering your love makes you feel more love

Admittedly, love is a hard thing to define and measure. But when it comes to volunteering, the results speak for themselves. Volunteering is proven to make you happier. It builds empathy, strengthens social bonds, and makes you smile – all factors that increase the feeling of “love”.

When researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness, they found

Helping others kindles happiness, as many studies have demonstrated. When researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of American adults, they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were”– Simple Changes, Big Rewards: A Practical, Easy Guide for Healthy, Happy Living.



Realizing the benefits of volunteering for yourself

The benefits of volunteering are truly remarkable and they are easier than ever to discover…

  • Volunteering your time makes you feel like you have more time
  • Volunteering your skills helps you develop more skills
  • Volunteering makes you healthier
  • Volunteering builds you experience and employability
  • Volunteering makes you feel more loved

So how can you get started volunteering? It’s remarkably easy. Post your intentions on Facebook and/or LinkedIn to get connected to an organization in your network. Use LinkedIn’s For Good program, Catchafire, or VolunteerMatch to find local opportunities, or use for international skills-based volunteer projects of any length of time.

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Here are some more great quotes about the benefits of volunteering

Even if the research wasn’t as compelling in 500 BC when Confucius first documented the benefits of service, throughout human history, great leaders and philosophers have urged others into service as a way to find a deeper meaning in life. Here are just a few of our favorites:

“He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own.” - Confucius 


“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. ” - Martin Luther King Jr. 


“Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves.” - Horace Mann


“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” - H. Jackson Brown Jr.


“Helpful people also tend to be healthier and happier; helping others causes happiness. Be selfless, if only for selfish reasons.” – Gretchen Rubin


“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” - Rabindranath Tagore


“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” - Albert Schweitzer


“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” - Muhammad Ali


“The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.” - Sun Tzu


“Your life and mine should be valued not by what we take… but by what we give.” - Edgar Allen


“What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.” - Aristotle


“You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.” - Winston Churchill


“Only a life lived for others is worth living.” - Albert Einstein


Partner Spotlight with Frontier Market Scouts: Empowering Talented Professionals to Drive Social Change

This month, we’re featuring one of our partner programs with an outstanding fellowship program, Frontier Market Scouts. FMS have been training professionals to become change-makers since 2011, and we had the opportunity to ask them a few questions about how their world-class program started, and how it’s making an impact…

What is the story of FMS?

The Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) program began ‘serendipitously’ at SOCAP 2010, with a chance meeting of Ross Baird, Founder of Village Capital and Dr. Yuwei Shi, former Dean of the Graduate School of International Policy and Management at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS).

When needing some air during a session on Impact Investing, Baird and Shi wandered out into the reception area to get a drink. The two defectors struck up a conversation on their respective work. Ross had recently launched Village Capital, an accelerator program for early-stage, high-potential entrepreneurs inspired by the “Village Bank”. A new concept in Micro-finance, they use peer review to replace traditional, high-cost due diligence methods in the investment process. As he likes to describe the model – “it’s as if angel investing and micro-finance had a baby.”

Ross Baird- co-Founder Village Capital

Dr. Yuwei Shi - co-founder FMS

Dr. Yuwei Shi – co-founder FMS

Yuwei shared the ideas that he had been brewing with Sabiha Malik, a U.K. designer and philanthropist, about an experiential learning program deploying graduate students into emerging markets to identify and support early-stage social entrepreneurs. Seeing the potential of linking MIIS students with scouting opportunities at VilCap, the Frontier Market Scouts Program was born – and launched three months later with a generous grant from Sanghata Global, Sabiha’s public charity organization.

The program started with just eight MIIS graduate students in 2011. Since then, FMS has trained nearly 300 professionals and graduate students who in turn have helped scale more than 100 social enterprises in 20 countries around the world.

The FMS program consists of two core components:

First, an intensive 2-week certificate training in Social Enterprise Management and Impact Investing taught by leading professionals in the impact space offering a unique blend of industry knowledge with action-oriented, hands-on learning.

Second, a 2-12 month fellowship with a seed-stage entrepreneur or impact investing fund in the US or abroad.

Ultimately, FMS is helping to scale a compassionate and talented workforce to drive social ventures tackling major global challenges such as poverty alleviation and clean energy markets.

In 2013, FMS received the prestigious AshokaU Award. More recently, in 2014, FMS became part of the newly launched Center for Social Impact Learning (CSIL) which was made possible with a generous seed grant from the Cordes Foundation.


After completing the training, how does a FMS Fellow typically support an organization?

FMS Fellows support impact funds and social ventures around the world, adding value in a number of ways including supply chain management, financial modeling, communications design, and business development consulting. Catriona (aka “Cat”) Forrester’s story is a great example of the typical FMS Fellow and how she helped a social impact fund in Guatemala accelerate their growth. Click here to read Cat’s story about joining FMS as part of her decision to make a career and life change.

What is the most valuable thing Fellows learn through the program?

The answer depends per individual, but we think the most valuable thing a Fellow learns is what it means to work in the social impact space. Working in this sector requires grit. Most Fellows commit to joining the program without knowing what role they will take on, or where in the world they will end up. It takes a special type of person to embrace this kind of change and ambiguity – we’ve seen amazing and inspiring stories as part of this process.


What is a fun or unique thing experienced during interactions with the Fellows?

It’s definitely fun mixed with adventure. There is a lot of community building happening during the two-week training. FMS participants are spending long days in the sessions but we always find time to have a little fun which includes hiking in beautiful Big Sur, or taking a Canal Tour together in Amsterdam.

What can we expect from FMS in the future? (e.g. new round open, geographic or thematic focus, new partnerships, etc.)

The latest innovation is Social Venture Profiling (SVP) which is a workshop offered during the certificate training and a field-based research initiative. SVP provides an overview of the current system of environmental, social and governance ratings (ESG ratings and analytics), including the ones commonly used in impact investing such as GIIRS. During the training, FMS participants compare metrics systems like ESG or GIIRS with the commercial financial rating systems and associated business models. During their fellowship in the field, specific Fellows are selected to develop an Impact Venture Profile associated with their assigned organization.


The goal of  SVP is to provide a platform for recognizing the expansion of impact-driven initiatives across all sectors in the public and private spheres and to enhance access to and understanding of existing and emergent social impact ventures. This initiative leverages select FMS Fellows in the field to directly assist the impact venture community (investors, venture capital firms, portfolio managers, social entrepreneurs and others). It’s our aim to develop a more holistic ecosystem for impact, and to firmly establish FMS and CSIL as a leader in the social-venture sector.

Learn More About the FMS Fellowship Program

New Search Tool Helps You Find International Volunteering Opportunities

Search for free international volunteering opportunities image

Finding a place to volunteer your real skills overseas with an organization that doesn’t charge you is not an easy task – and that’s partially why we started MovingWorlds… The other reason we started MovingWorlds is to accelerate the impact of locally-led social impact organizations who are working to solve last-mile challenges and have the most potential to create jobs. As it turns out, these growth-minded organizations are eager to provide immersive, skills-based volunteering opportunities and include free accommodations as they know that the proper application of skills can truly catalyze their organization.

Our focus continues to be building an easy-to-use and efficient matching site to connect you with changemakers. Our new search feature is just one of the tools available to help you find you find the best place to volunteer your skills, anywhere you want to travel.

In this post, I’ll walk you though:

  1. How to use the search
  2. How to filter results
  3. How to save a search so that you can be notified when new projects meet your search
  4. Why saving a search is important to our support team so that we can source new projects that fit your skills

Let me give you a quick tour… Go to the MovingWorlds browse page to start your search for free international volunteering projects


From our Browse page, you can use the map to find opportunities in specific areas. Clicking on the numbers on the map show you the titles of different opportunities. Clicking on a title will show you more details about the opportunity on the “Cards” to the right.

Search for volunteering opportunities image



Search for opportunities related to your skills. The most important factor in any Experteering engagement is that the opportunity relates to your professional, technical, and/or creative skills. Choose 1 to 5 that apply to you.

FIlter opportunities


After searching by skills, you can filter your results using filters. All our organizations on MovingWorlds post projects and input their own details, including length of location, length of time, required languages, benefits provided, and more. You can choose the filters that are most important to you.

Filter international volunteering opportunities images


Once you have a search filter setup, you can save the search. This does two things:

  1. Our system will notify you any time a new opportunity is published that matches your search query.
  2. It informs our global support team the types of projects it should source.

Save searches for international volunteering projects on MovingWorlds image


If you don’t see a project that excites you. We have partners covering 6 continents and over 80 countries. We source new opportunities based on the profiles of our members, and will work with our members to find opportunities that are the best fit for the time, skills, and preferences.

Help finding international volunteering opportunities image


While we have made some major advancements with this new search tool, we’re not done, yet. We’re testing a new beta search… if you want to help us test it, let me know in the comments below and I’ll message you our testing details. And, if you have any other feedback about this search or other features, please let us know!
Yours in moving worlds,
-The MovingWorlds team