The Official Blog of MovingWorlds.org


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

4 World-Changing Reasons Why You Should Volunteer With Startups

Volunteer at a startup in Indonesia

Volunteering with “for-profit” organizations might be counterintuitive at first, but if you’re serious about creating a positive impact, there is almost no better place to volunteer your skills. Organizations like startups, social enterprises, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) share something in common: they have the greatest ability to drive innovation and create jobs, and they also need skilled volunteers. As was previously published on NextBillion.net, they create up to 80% of the jobs in some economies, and, according to the United Nations:

Unemployment lies at the core of poverty… The creation of productive employment opportunities is essential for achieving poverty reduction and sustainable economic and social development.

As opposed to charity, jobs also have the ability to push people out of poverty and into a state of “Empowerment“.

When you do consider volunteering, while cuddling an orphan panda makes for a better Facebook photo, it’s not the best way to create an impact. If you really want to change the world, then you should use your professional skills to help empower organizations on the ground.

Here are 4 reasons why volunteering with for-profits might actually be better than volunteering at a charity:

1. Startups Have the Greatest Potential to Innovate Quickly and Create Change

Muhamud YunusJaqueline Novogratz, and Sachi Shenoy are thought-leaders in the fight against poverty, and all advocate on using free market solutions to end poverty. They all share a similar lesson: Organizations that are led locally have the greatest potential to identify market opportunities and deliver innovative solutions. Startups are already solving real challenges related to clean water, alternative energy, agriculture, healthcare and more… all while creating jobs for the poorest people in the process.

They also share that by helping build skills, improving access to capital, and connecting people to job opportunities we can help them solve the biggest challenges. In doing so, we can also help instill dignity and confidence, further empowering people to create their own future. Here is a great talk from Jaqueline Novogratz on the topic: Invest in Africa’s Own Solutions.

2. By Volunteering with Startups, You can Help Them Grow and Create Jobs

In the Denison University article Let’s Fight Poverty, Not the Poor, Fadhel Kaboub shared that “The best way to fight poverty is to focus on ending unemployment by giving a decent employment opportunity to anyone who is ready, willing and able to work at a socially established living wage“. However, the organization that is best positioned to grow and create jobs is most likely one you haven’t heard of.

In an interview we published on our stories page, Nicole shared how she Experteered with a startup in Brazil called Ebanx, a startup backed by Endeavor.org. In the year she spent there, it grew from 6 employees to over 60. Ebanx not only created jobs, but it also brought international finance and expertise into areas of Brazil that were able to benefit from increased access to capital and skills.

While Ebanx’s growth story isn’t uncommon, the more common story is that organizations with potential are severely hindered because they lack the skills needed to grow. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, one of the biggest barriers to growth for locally-led organizations is a lack of access to talent, which is why volunteering your skills abroad can make such a massive impact. Here are just a few of the common skills that can help catalyze growth:

  • Setting up an accounting system to help an organization prepare for investment
  • Creating a go-to-market launch plan for a startup
  • Drafting an HR policy to help a growing organization onboard talent
  • Teaching project management skills and technology to teams to be more efficient
  • Using operation skills to lower costs and improve distribution at healthcare institutions
  • Launching a business development plan for a scale-ready organization, and training staff on sales and marketing best practices
  • Mentoring mobile technology startups on software engineering best practices
The number of ways you can use your skills is almost endless, and organizations like LinkedIn For Good and MovingWorlds.org can help you find projects best suited for your profession.

3. Not all Non-Profits are Good for the World, and Not All For-Profits are Bad

There is an ongoing debate in Africa about the value of charities and aid. Some authors, like Dr. Dambisa Moyo, argue that aid is doing more harm than good. Her book, Dead Aid, outlines how new solutions are needed to fight poverty.

In addition to the ability to create jobs, many startups and SMEs often have powerful social missions. And because these organizations are often led locally and more nimble, they are able to best react to trends and market insights, resulting in increased innovation and impact. There are many global development partners that are helping identify these for-profit entities that make a positive impact on the world, like Sachi’s Upaya Social Ventures, Novogratz’s Acumen, Yunnus’s Grameen Bank, B Labs, Sistema B, Village Capital, and Unreasonable Institute. As examples, here is a short list of for-profit companies that are creating profitable solutions to the world’s biggest problems:

  1. 1298 Ambulance, backed by Acumen, is a for-profit ambulance company in India that has been able to increase access to care for tens of thousands of people.
  2. ElRhino, backed by Upaya Social Ventures, turns elephant dung into high-quality paper creating jobs while delivering environmentally friendly products.
  3. Ubongo, backed by Village Capital, created quality education solutions for children and employing locals.
  4. Kopo Kopo, backed by Unreasonable Institute, has provided mobile payment solutions in Kenya helping increase access to capital for thousands, and creating high-tech jobs in the process.
  5. A to Z Textiles, backed by Acumen, delivers bed nets to areas that needs it most and has created thousands of jobs while fighting malaria.
  6. Sidai, backed by Gates Foundation, provides farmer education and economical service to increase livestock yields in rural areas.

One only need look at Ashoka’s Changemakers platform to see other innovative solutions to the world’s biggest problems.

4. You’ll Develop New Skills and Learn about Sustainable Innovation

The best way to learn to be more innovative is to get experience being more innovative. One of our previous Experteers, Drew, shared that he learned an incredible amount about zero-impact architecture and sustainable design when he was forced to work in a resource constrained environment. We consistently hear feedback from almost every industry and expertise area.

By volunteering your skills with a social enterprise, not only can you help them grow in a specific area, but you can also learn a lot in the process. Undoubtedly, when you do return from your Experteering trip, you can put your new skills to use to perform better on your job. In an exciting report, Emerging World shows that when people volunteer overseas, they return more productive and engaged. Volunteering your skills will also inspire you to find other ways to make a positive impact in your career and in your day-to-day life.

In Summary

By volunteering your skills with social enterprises, you can make an immediate impact in the short-term, and also help transfer skills and know-how to help create an even bigger impact in the long-term. It’s truly a win-win for both parties, and for the world.

If you have any interesting stories about volunteer with startups, let us know in the comments below. If you’re interested in volunteering overseas then here are projects specifically withs startups and SMEs.

 

The Complete Guide to Free (and High Impact) Volunteer Projects Abroad

Image of Experteering Ladies

No matter your skills and availability, there is a social impact organization that can benefit from your time and real skills – this guide was written to help you find it. In exchange for your talents and energy, the right organization won’t charge you to volunteer. Instead, it will act as a local host and help you have a truly immersive experience that makes the world a better place in the process.

“You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself” – Harvey S. Firestone

This guide was constructed by the team at MovingWorlds.org, which has over 30 years of collective experience in planning, leading, and empowering skills-based volunteer projects abroad. In addition, we’ve combined insights and content from leading fellowship programs, published research, and our own experience supporting individuals as well as large corporate programs.

This guide covers the following topics (you can click on the links to jump to the most relevant section):

  1. Why You Should Volunteer Your Skills Overseas
  2. Types of Free International Volunteering Projects
  3. How to Find Free Skills-Based Volunteering Projects Abroad
  4. Planning for International Volunteering Work
  5. Being an Effective International Volunteer
  6. Gear, Visas, and Travel Insurance while Volunteering Overseas
  7. Computers, Phones, Tablets, and Electronics while Volunteering Overseas
  8. Books to Read While Volunteering Overseas
  9. Returning from Your Volunteer Travel Experience
  10. How to Fund Your International Volunteering Trip
  11. Organizations That Can Help You Find Free Volunteer Projects Abroad

1. Why You Should Volunteer Your Skills Overseas

The United Nations has published research showing that volunteers, especially skills-based volunteers, have an important role in global development. In fact, by volunteering your skills, you can help address one of the leading barriers to progress, which is called the “Talent Gap.” There is an article on NextBillion.org which helps explain the role of skills volunteers in global development and here are 9 statistics you probably didn’t know about international volunteering.

In addition to working on specific projects, you can also help transfer knowledge and skills to students, entrepreneurs, and leaders to help them continue to make a bigger impact after you finish.

By volunteering, you can empower locally-led projects that have the greatest potential to solve last-mile challenges and create jobs.


2. Types of Free International Volunteering Projects

International volunteer projects can vary greatly and be for almost any length of time. From a 1 day virtual project to a 2 year field experience, there are countless ways that you can use your skills. Here are a few recent examples:

  • A fashion designer who worked on fair trade designs with a nonprofit empowering local women in Guatemala for 1 week.
  • An accountant supported a medical college in Ghana to help it focus on sustainable social and economic development for 3 weeks.
  • A retired Federal US Government employee supported a technology social enterprise working on improved child education in Tanzania.
  • An architect supported a nonprofit in Panama to build a self-sustaining research facility for 4 months.
  • A business strategy professional traveled around the world for a year supporting social enterprises with go-to-market and marketing plans.
  • A business development professional supported a startup in Brazil for 18 months to help it create jobs in impoverished areas.

Regardless of the length of time, the common theme is that these projects are skills-based. We use the word “Experteering” to define skilled volunteering overseas.

Time is one of the most important factors in determining the type of project you’ll work on. Here is a table showing the most common types of projects you’ll find based on your availability, regardless of your skills:

OPTIONS LENGTH SUMMARY
TRAINER 1 – 4 weeks. See sample projects here. Engage with an organization to help teach a specific skill or resource (like training Excel skills, accounting best practices, git methodology, HR best practices, or marketing analytics to name a few).
DOER 1 – 8 weeks. See samples here. Support a team with a specific task that has a clear deliverable, like designing a new website, setting up an accounting system, developing a marketing plan, creating an engineering schematic, or other skills-based project.
CONSULTANT 3 – 24 weeks. See samples here. Immerse yourself around a specific opportunity or challenge area. Give yourself enough time to learn community and cultural contexts, and then propose (and potentially implement) a plan to accelerate impact.
TEAM MEMBER 6+ months. See samples here. Become a core team member for a specific length of time, like a contractor.

 

Not all volunteer projects are created equal. Make sure to find one that fits your skills and availability.


3. How to Find Free Skills-Based Volunteering Projects Abroad

The proper match can have a catalytic impact on both parties.  Done incorrectly, it can actually cause more harm than good, as documented in the haunting story about the Cambodia Orphanage Business. Stories like this have fueled the “voluntourism” debate, which is when you pay to volunteer or teach. If you are going on a paid volunteering trip, please visit LearningService to plan appropriately. However, there are ways to find free volunteering opportunities if you use your skills and contribute real value. Here are 8 factors to consider when choosing a volunteering engagement, at home or abroad:

If you are going on a paid volunteering trip, please visit LearningService to plan appropriately. However, there are ways to find free volunteering opportunities if you use your skills and contribute real value. Here are 8 factors to consider when choosing a volunteering engagement, at home or abroad:

  • Skills – Make sure there is a strong alignment of an organization’s needs with your skills.
  • Timing – Find a start date, end date, and duration that is agreeable to all parties.
  • Motivations – Be clear about what you are hoping to get out of the experience, and what the hosting organization is hoping to achieve.
  • Sustainable Impact –  Focus your work on projects that have long-term potential, and where you can build the skills of people to sustain the projects after you leave.
  • Communication – Ensure that you can clearly communicate with each other.
  • Commitment – Both you and the host should invest time and resources in the engagement and agree to certain outcomes.
  • Ethics – Make sure the project is locally led, doesn’t erode jobs and is in the best interest of the community.
  • Partnership – Work hard to build a partnership that benefits both parties.
You can find projects on your own or with a matching service. Regardless of which option, make sure to follow the tips above. Read this article on Devex Impact for more information on these 8 factors.


4. Planning for International Volunteering Work

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

People are consistently surprised at how much time goes into planning a volunteering project, at home, or as part of an international trip. However, once people finish, we consistently hear people say they wish they had spent more time planning. In other words, tedious as it might be, plan, plan, and plan some more. To help you plan, we strongly urge volunteers to do the following:

1. Get Ready to Go

Enroll in training on International Volunteering Best Practices, like this one by MovingWorlds.org and this one by Serve Smart. In addition, review these 9 tips from LearningService on Being a Valuable Volunteer.

2. Plan in Partnership With your Host

Remember that the single most important thing during the planning process of your project is that everything – including planning – is done in partnership with the organization you are supporting. Use a collaborative planning process, like this open-sourced Experteering Planning Guide, to clearly set expectations between you and the hosting organization.

3. Make a List and Check it Thrice

Use a preparation and packing list to make sure you have the necessary visa, health checks, planning & safety documents in order. Use this Experteering Checklist as a starting block, and then work with your hosting organization to further customize it to make sure you have everything you need to be safe and successful.

4. Learn from Others

Take time to read about other people who have taken similar trips. Check out this free eBook, Adventures Less Ordinary and read this earlier article,  7 Things I Wish I Knew About Volunteering Overseas Before Spending a Year Doing It.

Don’t shortcut your planning process. If the organization you are supporting does not have its own formal process, you can follow this free international Experteering guide.


5. Being an Effective International Volunteer

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
-Albert Einstein

The best and most successful Experteering engagements all have one thing in common: clearly defined goals that are created in partnership with the hosting organization.

Most importantly, these goals are documented, and not only include project goals, but actually define success as it will look 1 year in the future. We have found the following rules help create positive impact for all parties:

  • Support locally-initiated projects to ensure that the project will continue after you leave.
  • Train local staff at the start of your project to be able to take over your work seamlessly.
  • Spend more time teaching and less time doing so that the locals develop the skills necessary to keep growing after you leave.
  • Do what’s necessary, not what’s interesting so that the most essential tasks are completed in your limited time.
  • Embrace cultural differences and discuss with your host the differences you might have, and how you can use those to your advantage.
  • Have consistent checkpoints to make sure you’re working together well and everyone is on the same page about project and timing expectations.
  • Remember long-term thinking is critical, as it ensures that the program is locally-led, sustainable, and focussed on making an impact.

Depending on the length of time you are going for, the work you will do on a day-to-day basis will vary greatly. For more insight into what projects are best for what timeframe, read this article about How to Make a Real Impact by Volunteering Overseas.

To enhance this experience (and your impact), we suggest that you find a mentor, take along your favorite books, and identify ways you want to grow as a leader. We have found these resources will help anybody be a better changemaker at home, and abroad. If nothing else, watch this TED Talk: If You Want to Help Someone, Shutup and Listen.

Just like you would prepare for a course, take an “orientation”. We recommend taking both of the trainings listed above and following the planning process.


6. Gear, Visas, and Travel Insurance while Volunteering Overseas

Gear, visa, and travel requirements vary greatly from country-to-country, so we recommend you do a lot of your own research. However, these few pointers help cover the essentials. For some of the items listed below, we get a small % of affiliate sales – just enough to help buy some coffee for the global team that puts these resources together and supports people volunteering around the world.

Travel insurance for International Volunteers

There is no BEST travel insurance. Depending on your age, location, and time away, use SquareMouth for finding the best and best-priced insurance for you and your unique trip. VolunteerCard – for students and for families and professionals – also offers insurance and a host of discounts.

Gear for volunteering overseas

The goal is to look like a local while volunteering, so you don’t need much gear. The most important thing is that you have a great journal for reflecting your experience and a good camera for documenting it. Because of the personal and close-up nature of a lot of work, we think GoPro’s are awesome because they can take time lapses and fit a lot of things into a single frame.

Visas for Volunteering

Every country has different requirements. To help you find answers, and even help with processing your visa, you can use VisaHQ. You can also use ask your hosting organization for help navigating the visa process, acquiring a letter (if needed), and learning about how other travelers handle the process.


7. Computers, Phones, Tablets, and Electronics while Volunteering Overseas

Before deciding what to buy, talk to your hosting organization and carefully plan the work you will actually be doing so you know if you need to bring specific resources, supplies, and electronic devices.

Chances are that if you’re going to go skills-based volunteering, you’ll likely need to bring a computer. At the same time, remember that you’re traveling so you don’t need all your normal electronics. Leave the tablet at home and stick to the basics – you’ll thank yourself for not being overly connected.

A small laptop that doubles as a tablet is both unassuming and useful for your travel and work – this one is a good example. If you want to take a phone with you, make sure it’s unlocked. Here is a list of the best selling unlocked smartphones on Amazon.

Of course, you’ll need the right power adapter. Talk to your hosting organization to make sure you know what types of plug-ins they have. If you need one, this is highly rated and flexible travel power adapter.


8. Books to Read While Volunteering Overseas

If you don’t have a Kindle, you should definitely buy one for your trip (we like the PaperWhite with a case), and then load these books on it:

  1. Poor Economics
  2. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard
  3. Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism
  4. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
  5. Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way
  6. The End of Poverty
For more resources about how to be a better “ChangeMaker”, check out our complete list of videos, articles, and more books.


9. Returning from Your Volunteer Travel Experience

Your field experience is just the start. Once you finish, make sure to keep in touch with your hosting organization to ensure the project lives on.  In one year, you should be able to track your impact. In fact, we like to say that “Success happens after you leave”.

In addition to making an impact, remember this is a personal growth experience for you, too. Make sure to reflect on your experience. Take a moment to read this article You’re Forgetting to do this One Essential Thing While Volunteering Overseas, and also watch this video from LearningService about what to do after you finish.

When you return, share your story with the world to help inspire others to follow in your footsteps. Tag your posts using #Experteering and contribute your story to GOOD Magazine.


10. How to Fund Your International Volunteering Trip

If you volunteer your skills, you should be able to find a place with free accommodations. However, you might still need to pay for your airfare. A few other ways to pay for your trip include:

Consider ethical considerations when funding your trip – there is a big difference between “Voluntourism” and Volunteering Your Skills.


11. Organizations That Can Help You Find Free Volunteer Projects Abroad

There are a lot of organizations that can help you volunteer your skills overseas. Here is a brief listing of our organizations.
Important note, nobody on this list paid for placements, but the author does work for MovingWorlds.

COST TIMING TRAINING & SUPPORT SKILLS-BASED
CUSO International Covers your costs 1 year and over Yes. Yes.
Idealist Free to use, many projects are pay to volunteer. Any length of time No. Varies.
MovingWorlds $99 matching fee to free opportunities with free room & Board. Some projects provide compensation. Any length of time: 1 day to 1 year. Yes. Yes.
Omprokash Varied from free to pay-to-volunteer. Variable. Variable. Variable.
Peace Corps Covers your costs and provides compensation. 27 months + Yes. Yes.
VSO Covers your costs 1 year and over Yes. Yes.

 

Find projects that need your skills, not your money. A matching service, like MovingWorlds.org and Omprakash, can help. You can also use a rating site like GoOverseas.

Summary

Volunteering your skills overseas has the potential to create a massive impact for you, as well as the organization you support. But there is a right and a wrong way to volunteer your skills overseas, so take care to find, plan, and prepare for a high-impact volunteering engagement.

To jump back to any of the main sections, click on the link:

  1. Why You Should Volunteer Your Skills Overseas
  2. Types of Free International Volunteering Projects
  3. How to Find Free Skills-Based Volunteering Projects Abroad
  4. Planning for International Volunteering Work
  5. Being an Effective International Volunteer
  6. Gear, Visas, and Travel Insurance while Volunteering Overseas
  7. Computers, Phones, Tablets, and Electronics while Volunteering Overseas
  8. Books to Read While Volunteering Overseas
  9. Returning from Your Volunteer Travel Experience
  10. How to Fund Your International Volunteering Trip
  11. Organizations That Can Help You Find Free Volunteer Projects Abroad

“A path is now appearing to show us how to have a positive impact on the world around us. This is a path of hopefulness, but also a path of fulfillment: typically, we start off by trying to empower others and end up empowering ourselves, too.”

- A Path Appears

Partner Spotlight with Winrock International: Sharing Business Expertise Where It’s Needed Most

Experteering-with-Winrock

This month, we’re featuring our partner Winrock International.

Winrock has been connecting professional volunteers (we call them ‘Experteers’) with local projects for almost 25 years. They’ve helped improve the lives of countless disadvantaged men, women, and youths around the world.

We had the opportunity to ask Jen Snow, Outreach Director and Angela Kraszewski, Program Associate at Winrock a few questions about their world-class projects.

Angela Kraszewski

Angela Kraszewski, Program Associate at Winrock International

What is the Story of Winrock International?

Winrock’s mission is to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity, and sustain natural resources.

Winrock International traces its roots to a charitable project established by Winthrop A. Rockefeller in central Arkansas. Winrock International Livestock Research and Training Center was created in 1973 to improve animal agriculture, using the expertise that developed by raising cattle at the mountaintop Winrock ranch.

In 1985, that institution merged with two other organizations founded by Winthrop’s brother, John D. Rockefeller III, to form Winrock International. Since then, the organization expanded its mission to focus on environment, clean energy and leadership development, in addition to agriculture.

Since 1991, Winrock has engaged skilled professionals to support projects around the world. The professionals are donating their skills to projects where their knowledge is most needed.

Since then, Winrock ‘Experteers’ have completed over 5,400 assignments in 56 countries. Currently they’re running volunteer assignments in Bangladesh, Guinea, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, and Senegal.

How Does the Volunteer Process Work?

Winrock’s volunteer projects are 100% demand-driven. In-country representatives work with local organizations to identify challenges that are both interesting and viable for international experts to tackle. Together, they develop a scope of work that defines a clear assignment. Winrock’s recruiters use these scopes of work to identify the right candidates. Recruiters coordinate all the logistical arrangements, and also help the Experteers to get familiar with the culture of their destination country.

Experteers donate their time and work individually, or as part of a team. Most volunteers travel abroad for an assignment that lasts two to four weeks. Travel expenses are covered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), or other donors.

Barry Evans photo 1

Barry Evans Experteering in Bangladesh

On location, there is always a Winrock representative to act as contact person during the assignment. They arrange everything, from transportation to interpreting services, and can provide local tips. On the ground, the volunteers always work directly with the local organizations to exchange ideas, solve problems, and create lasting solutions. Many develop deep, long-term relationships, and many return for follow-up assignments later.

After the assignment, most Experteers rate their experience as one of the most rewarding and fulfilling work they’ve done!

“All of the trips have been tremendous learning opportunities. These assignments have been the most professionally and personally rewarding of any work I’ve ever completed. Our work touches thousands of individuals and families and is most humbling.”  –Dr. David Henzler

What Type of Impact can Winrock Experteers Make?

Here’s an example of a typical Winrock story:

Arise & Shine International (A & Shine), a Nigerian honey business, was established by a husband and wife team in 2000. Ten years later, the company was still in operation, but it struggled to achieve growth, and was unaware of its market reach. With the help of Winrock Experteer Cliff Wener, A & Shine made some key improvements.

First, Cliff worked with the owners to do a thorough market-survey. Then he provided recommendations to help the company lower costs, increase productivity, and sell more products.

A & Shine implemented Cliff’s recommendations, which included introducing more efficient packaging, branding improvements, changing storage practices, purchasing new processing equipment, and hiring a bookkeeper.

Following these changes, A & Shine saw immediate benefits, achieving a $60,000 increase in sales just one year after Cliff’s assignment. The President of Nigeria liked their honey so much that he awarded them the National Productivity Award.

Today, A & Shine continues to thrive, and the owners are working hard to keep up with the increasing local demand, offering several new products.  The customer base is up by 35%. They’re also generating new jobs that are hard to come by in Nigeria, and serve as an example for other entrepreneurs in the region.

“The volunteer’s visit made us look inwards and reassess the ways that we might cut costs and improve quality ourselves. He opened our eyes to see opportunities and solutions to problems that we have previously not noticed.”

-Mr. Adeshina, co-owner, Arise & Shine International

Dan Miller

Dan Miller Experteering in Mali

How to Apply to be a Winrock Experteer?

Every US-Citizen can apply to be a Winrock Expert, as long as you are willing to donate your time and expertise.

Most of Winrock’s projects are funded by USAID, but there is no funding to pay for consultancy fees. As a Winrock volunteer, you will be representing both Winrock and the United States. You must be flexible, patient, willing to learn about other countries, and respectful of others. Sometimes it can be beneficial if you speak the local language, but it’s usually not required. Most hosts speak English or have someone available who speaks English. If not, an interpreter is always provided.

Once accepted, it’s hard to say when exactly you’ll be approached for any specific project, as all the assignments are demand-driven. However once you’re on location and immersed in a new environment, you can be sure that the experience will be an unforgettable one!

 

Learn more about Winrock

See Experteering Opportunities with Winrock International

 

6 Things We Look for in Experteering Opportunities

Experteering community
Experteering is fundamentally a win-win game, and we’ve seen our Experteers support startups and social enterprises in ways they couldn’t have imagined before. One example is Ebanx, an innovative payment processing startup in Brazil supported by Endeavor. Ebanx was  looking to expand internationally and partnered with a MovingWorlds Experteer,  Nicole. In the first 18 months they worked together, Ebanx grew from 8 to 65 employees, and became one of Brazil’s leaders in online payment solutions today.

The story of Ebanx happens all the time at MovingWorlds, and every one of these stories starts the same way: An organization identifying an area of support, and subsequently translating that into an opportunity which can be posted on our platform. At MovingWorlds, we are committed to help you scope the best possible Experteering projects, so they stand out and captivate our best Experteers. Here’s an example of what a well-composed opportunity could look like.

As to make optimal use of your limited time, we encourage you to invest in creating an attractive and clear opportunity from the start, so we can help promote it across our social media and partner networks.

To make your opportunity stand out, we recommend you follow these 6 guidelines:

1. Share your Mission..and how the right skills will accelerate it

All our Experteers are looking for international experience where they can use their skills to make a difference, so make sure to “connect the dots” between the project, and how it helps your organization make the world a better place. Every opportunity on our website should highlight how skills can make an impact in a specific cause area. This is the number one thing that Experteers will look for.

In addition, in the profile page of your organization clearly state your organization’s mission. Be sure to address the question: “why does my organization exist, and what good does it create?

2. Choose a Title that highlights Skills AND Impact

Experteers are experienced professionals with a track-record of being valued and remunerated for their skills. This means a relevant title referencing specific skills works best to prompt their interest.Because this is often the first impression of your opportunity,  your title should always state the skill(s) or profession(s) needed, and preferably mention the impact to be generated as well.
Our specific guidelines:

  1. Come up with an exciting or fun title that captures both the essence of skills needed, and what the person will work on, e.g. “Design Guru to set up Crowdfunding campaign for Innovative Recycling Concept
  2. In your opportunity title, don’t use the word “Intern” or “Volunteer. MovingWorlds is not an intern marketplace, and our numbers show that both these terms are counter-productive in attracting skilled candidates.

If you’re not sure where to start think about the title like this: [Skill] to [Project Description] for [Mission]. You can then trim to make it concise and appealing.

3. Provide a Project Description that is Specific to Skills

When describing your project, the most important thing is to be specific and concise. This means clearly stating which specific skills you need to overcome your challenge, the work to be delivered, and to paint a clear picture of what the Experteer will do on a daily basis.

 As the Experteer will ultimately commit valuable time to your organization, it’s important he/she gets a realistic picture of the requests that will be made to him/her on a daily basis.

Our specific guidelines:

  1. Project Description –  in the section “Explain the Opportunity, outcome and work” you should address the: “what, why, when, who and how” of this opportunity.  Including things like:
    1. What is the current challenge you are facing?
    2. How will this project help tackle this challenge?
    3. What would day to day work look like?
    4. What positive social, environmental or economic impact are you looking to generate? 
  1. Project Deliverables – in the section “How will you know if this project is a success?” clearly define the anticipated outcomes and deliverables of the project, asking: “Which tangible results we need after the project is finished?”  Make sure to be realistic with your expectations. 
  1. Post one project at a time – If you have more than one project for Experteers that require a completely different skill-set, don’t ask for both in the same profile. Instead, make a different opportunity profile for each, and attract more Experteers. When looking for a combined set of skills in 1 person, make sure the skills are related.

As a Bonus - MovingWorlds adds a customized and unique recommendation for every opportunity to make it stand out. The more specific your description, the better we’ll be able to recommend your opportunity.

 

4. Use Images to Tell Your Project’s – and Organization’s – Story

Words and text can only tell so much, but images tell much more. We noticed that our most popular opportunities always include various photos of the team, the Experteering location, and/or an example of impact created.

Our specific guidelines:

  1. Add at least 3 pictures with relevant caption, related to the project activities and/or location (up to 6 pictures can be uploaded per opportunity)
  2. If you have it – add an additional file with more details of your project or organization as a separate PDF (can be uploaded in the final step of setup)
  3. If you have a compelling video of your organization, we encourage you to add a video link (Youtube or Vimeo) to your organization description. We don’t support embedded video on opportunity profiles (yet!).

Experteers join us because they are looking for trusted organizations and projects, and we provide access to a network of trusted partners with curated opportunities. Organizational profiles with links to partners, social media profiles, and positive social proof generate the most traffic and gauge the most interest from Experteers.

As our platform gets tens of thousands visits per month, including your links on our page will also benefit your organization by generating more traffic and optimizing search results.

NOTE: Only input links into relevant forms. Links put into project descriptions will be removed.

Our specific guidelines:

  1. In your organization profile, mention relevant organizations or partners you work with or have worked with in the past.
  2. A relation with one of our strategic partners can be indicated in your organizational profile under “affiliated with”, this helps us promote your opportunity through our network, and through our related partners. In addition, please let us know if you want to suggest a new partner for us!
  3. Don’t mention your contact details (such as organization name, URL, email, or any other contact info) in the titleproject description and project deliverables sections – as to avoid people contacting you without having been verified by us and checked for their availability and suitability first. This is very important, as it allows us to oversee all matches, and to make better use of your valuable time by only connecting you with quality and committed professionals.

6. Provide Local Benefits

At the core of Experteering lies the belief that both the Experteer and the Host Organization benefit from the interaction. Of course most of these benefits for the Experteer are ‘intangible’, being rooted in the experience itself. However, by offering tangible local benefits, like free accommodation, it proves to the Experteer that you are committed to working on a real project that has massive potential for your organization. In fact, it’s essentially a co-investment that helps ensure you both have a lot to gain in this type of experience.

Our specific guidelines:

  1. Every opportunity should provide attractive local benefits, such as free accommodation and food, a travel stipend, language and/or cooking lessons, use of amenities… just to name a few.
  2. Don’t charge the Experteer at any point for their time and skills donated. While charging is common for ‘voluntourism’ projects, this platform does not allow pay-to-volunteer opportunities. MovingWorlds only supports  Experteering, and there is a clear difference between the two. If you have any doubts or questions about a project you’d like to post, you can always contact us directly for further clarifications.

 


 

In Summary…

While we know that it takes time to post a quality opportunity, we are committed to helping you. If you follow these guidelines, the likelihood of being matched to the right Experteer will drastically increase. In addition, we’ll be likely to feature your opportunity on our homepage, write about you in our monthly Partner Spotlight series, and promote you on our social media channels. Our hope is that in addition to being matched to an Experteer, you’ll also get more attention for your organization and cause. Watch this video for a tour of the site, and for more information about posting opportunities, and see the image below which shows that your profile will look like on MovingWorlds.

Here’s Sample of what your Opportunity could look like:

MovingWorlds Sample Opportunity