The Official Blog of MovingWorlds.org


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

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

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 MovingWorlds.org 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 NationalService.gov 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 MovingWorlds.org 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.

FMS-Ladies

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.

Brittany-John-Benin

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.

Kulsoom-Ally-FMS-AMS-2014

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