Common Impact Blog

Remote work to enable international skills-based volunteering

Remote work to enable international skills-based volunteering By Common Impact Guest Blogger | Jun 28, 2018

By Guest Blogger Vera Frajtova, Venture with Impact

Venture with Impact (VWI) is a social enterprise providing international SBV programs for remotely working professionals. Ann Davis founded Venture with Impact, LLC in 2016 with the mission to expose professionals to new cultures, people and ideas so that they may be more informed and empathetic world citizens, and in the process, develop new professional skills while creating a positive social impact.

Why does international skills-based volunteerism matter?
2017 Deloitte Volunteerism Survey shows that more and more professionals want to create positive social impact with their skills. Employers offering sponsored volunteer programs are, however, not numerous, and often employees have to face a difficult choice between quitting their jobs to pursue volunteer projects or giving up their desire to volunteer for the sake of keeping their jobs.

VWI programs bring SBV initiatives to where it is usually needed the most, in countries where local communities and NGOs lack resources with specific skills and expertise. VWI seeks to form long-term corporate partnerships to support remote work opportunities and allow remotely working professionals and entire teams to travel abroad, develop their skills and get involved in a SBV project in one of the VWI program countries.


How does the remote work enable skill-based volunteering?
VWI programs allow participants to live and travel in a country for one month -- without the necessity of quitting their jobs back home – to have a unique opportunity to truly immerse in local cultures and communities, leaving a positive social impact by volunteering their skills. Thanks to technology and remote work trends, international SBV is becoming more and more accessible, and professionals can more easily find optimal balance between their jobs and their desire to volunteer.


What are some examples of impactful SBV initiatives of your program participants?
Since January 2017, VWI has run programs in Peru, Columbia, Thailand and Portugal and has hosted a wide range of participants in terms of age, profession, nationality and experience. The age of participants has ranged from early 20s to 70s, and professions have included software designers, entrepreneurs, non-profit directors, project managers, engineers, doctors and writers.

Participants support local NGOs in areas such as human rights, education, refugee protection, social inclusion, women empowerment and health care. Their skills help partner non-profit institutions with the development of IT infrastructure, marketing and communications, community outreach and fundraising, as well as project management, strategic planning and training.


How does a SBV experience with VWI impact program participants? What are their takeaways?
VWI programs enable participants to broaden their expertise by working for non-profits often facing insufficient resources and know-how. They become agile and adaptable while learning new soft skills by working in culturally different environments. Experience with VWI gives participants new perspective on their careers, inspires career changes and reinforces commitments to pro-bono activities. Said Melissa Post, a Venture with Impact volunteer posted in Medellin, Columbia, “My experience with Venture with Impact in Medellin allowed me to see what I need to be inspired.”
 

For more information and testimonials of program participants visit: www.venturewithimpact.org