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Power-of-You: Shaking up the world of Volunteering

Geneva, SwitzerlandCape Town, South Africa
Year Founded:
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Dedicated to inspiring & enabling individuals to volunteer abroad for free whilst maximising impact.

Because if one decides to help other people, they should not have to pay for it!

How? Our volunteers will maximise impact by leveraging their strengths & focusing on their passions.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if there were no trade offs to volunteering???
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

5 years ago, in my quest to volunteer abroad, I grew fed-up of the following: FEES: Organisations demanding vast sums of money. I’m already giving my time & losing my income. PROJECTS NOT LEVERAGING MY SKILLS: Projects building houses or schools when I can barely change a lightbulb. INSUFFICIENT FUNDS TO EXECUTE PLANS: Once within an NGO, the costs of simple things like printing & income to ensure the NGO's stability.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Power-of-You is built around the following values: Transparency & Free Volunteering: the biggest gift you can offer is your time & skills – not money (though that’s also good!) Passion: you will maximise impact if you do something you love Leadership: working with the charity, you decide your work plan & your hours Every Little Helps: be it a 3 month sabbatical or a 1 week holiday, if you can spare some hours… you can help. Love: Have a fantastic time doing great things. The perception that volunteering has to be dull, that you have to live in poverty is out-dated. There are already too many trade offs & barriers to volunteering. I aim to break these barriers & inspire a new generation of impact focussed volunteers.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Right now, if one wants volunteer, one can do much worse than stumble across Habitat for Humanity. Here's a 1 week program: Friday: Suggested departure. Saturday: Arrive in Cape Town and meet with your team. See the city and get acclimated Sunday: Orientation Monday-Friday: Build in the community, with free time or cultural activities in the evenings Saturday: Explore Cape Town and enjoy a celebratory dinner with Habitat staff Sunday: After some optional team activities in the city, your journey in Africa may continue independently, or you may depart for home Program cost: US$2,450 EXCLUDING Flights, Rest & Recreation. So from Europe you're looking at $3500 minimum to help "build a community for 1 week" Lasting impact? I doubt it!

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We propose 3 programs 1) Package inline with above for $150 a week 2) Remote volunteering for those who can't get away 3) A match-making service, where the needs of 200 NGOs based in South Africa are matched with the passions, skills and locations of our volunteers. Volunteers act as consultants and PAY NO AGENCY FEES. Every volunteer is unique and offers a variety of skills, experience levels, and interests. It is this diversity that allows us to meet the range of challenges facing the NGOs. Volunteer opportunities vary in length, location, & focus to fit any skill set or schedule, with time commitments ranging from a one-time commitment of 3-4 hours to much much more. Volunteers consult in their area of expertise to enable locals (who know the market & their needs but are not equipped to effectively meet demand). WE'RE NOT GIVING THEM A FISH, WE'RE TEACHING THEM HOW TO FISH

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Current focus is on breaking barriers to volunteering in Cape Town South Africa. In the future, I hope that the focus will shift from break barriers in South Africa to “breaking barriers to volunteering World Wide”. Why? Well the same way I’m passionate for helping South Africa, others may have passion elsewhere and I consider that one more barrier to break. Provided sufficient capacity and funds and with the aim of maximising impact and scale, I plan on engaging Universities and organisations in order to inspire a future generation of impact-focussed volunteers around the world.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Right now, Power-of-You is a passion of mine that requires help raising awareness – NOT funds – in order to maximise impact. For that reason I am encouraging people to give directly to our registered Charity Partner – The Volunteer Centre – directly. They are doing fantastic work but require all the help they can get in order to continue supporting the 200 charities they serve. Ongoing, if there is a demand, I will look to company sponsors

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

I am yet to find another organisation that offers the service Power-of-You provides. Whilst many organisations encourage volunteering, I have always found trade-offs: be it excessive costs, lack of lasting impact or a sacrifice on quality of life. Another POD is that we will develop a local referral program (housing, car rental, flights?) so that volunteers can trust who where they are staying (a lot of fraud in SA) and that 25% of what they pay goes to the charities they support. I hope to inspire people to volunteer by pushing the message that they will have a great time doing good.

Founding Story

In December 2013 I left Procter & Gamble after 7.5 happy years in Marketing in order to finally kick-off an idea I had been sitting on for over 5 years. It was 5 years ago that I myself had been volunteering. Finding a place to volunteer is an unexpected nightmare. I was shocked. Eventually I stumbled across the Volunteer Centre who I now partner with. They offered a range of projects I could work on based on my skills - both shocked and delighted that someone would want to volunteer 8 hours a day for 2 months for nothing. I had THE BEST TIME OF MY LIFE and it was then I thought... "why aren't more people doing this... even for just 1 week?" I knew why... I had experienced the barriers myself. This is my attempt to break them.


Right now I am on my own in Geneva, partnering with a fantastic registered charity in South Africa - the Volunteer Centre. (volcent.co.za) My role is to drive awareness and develop products to inspire & engage volunteers. These products are based on the fantastic work that the Volunteer Centre is already undertaking. Nozuko Masiba is leading the work on the side of the Volunteer Centre.