TTT #50: "Online Volunteering -Learning & Making Change" with James Sancto
None of us has any control over the life circumstances we find ourselves in at birth. But in a world as stratified as ours, these circumstances largely determine the lives we lead. Perhaps, we are not responsible for the opportunities we happen to inherit. But we may have a responsibility as to how we utilize those to extend it the ones who don't have the same privileges; how we dedicate ourselves to causes we care about to create the positive social impact we can. Believing in such an approach, James Sancto wanted to use his entrepreneurial skills for good. Eventually, he founded We Make Change, a platform that connects skilled and passionate volunteers with projects having a social mission.
Having a social enterprise is so much more than leading an entity concentrating on profits. The primary goal, instead, is to create impact and generate revenues to scale it. With volunteers from different corners of the world having diverse perspectives and experiences, not only are enterprises better enabled to understand the issue, but they may also find ideas and solutions that they would not have thought of otherwise.
One challenge most social enterprises struggle with is the lack of funding. Volunteering, conventionally, has been restricted to a physical realm and did not harness the power of tools and technology. By allowing volunteers to function in a professional capacity, We Make Change makes up for the lack of resources felt by enterprises previously.
Another trend in the volunteering space has been the outstanding involvement of students. On the one hand, volunteering enhances students' CVs, helps them develop their skills and apply them directly in a real-world context and makes them build a strong network. But on the other, they are motivated by the possibility of being a part of the change they want to see.
As James says,
We are the first generation that can end extreme poverty and the last generation that can end climate change.
Considering how pressing the challenges are, it is understandable to be overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness. But we, as a generation, are more connected than ever before. And reassuringly, so many around find it impossible to sit, witness what is happening and do nothing. The problems, though daunting, are not invincible, for we possess the power to solve them.