For those who don’t know, I co-founded iVolunteer about 11 years back with the premise that individuals want to give back to society. Since our background was IRMA we created iVolunteer with structures, forms, processes, business models, and all the things that they teach you in business schools.
So after 11 years of learning I guess its time to unlearn everything and start from scratch. Don’t ask me why but may be the catalyst for this is this super cool course that I’m doing at Amsterdam called THNK ( rightly so).
So during our recent office retreat at Goshani we did some THNKING. We asked this question to ourselves- what if we were to throw away everything that we do ( the same question was also asked by my coach Robert Wolfe to me) and start afresh. What will the future look like ?. And thanks to Samta ( my colleague) we did come out with something which at least to some of us sounds very exciting.
So here is our new volunteer program ( draft) looks like
- People apply for what they want to discover or do : For instance I want to learn about water issues in rural areas or I want to work on creating livelihoods. As long as the issues are of social relevance they can pick anything that they like
- iVolunteer helps in finding them a space where they can do this. This space can be a village, a panchayat, a NGO, a social enterprise. We also provide a stipend for 6 months.
- We also identify a On-Demand mentor for the volunteer which they can talk to in case they need help. They can also choose not to talk to the mentor at all.
- Volunteers only report back through blogs, photos, and other creative ways.
- All volunteers meet together before start of the program for a boot camp kind of thing and at the end of 6 months for a end point get together.
We don’t start the program with targets or any big marketing. We don’t raise institutional money. Unless we are sure of someone we don’t take them in.
We do this only for the love of volunteering and nothing else.
This is first draft, may be its a crazy idea. Would love to hear what you guys think. And what would you call a program like this ?