Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


About Changemakers

About Changeshops

Log in & Password Issues

Competitions Related


About Changemakers

What is Ashoka Changemakers®?

Changemakers is a global online community that supports everyone’s ability to be a changemaker and to inspire, mentor, and collaborate with other members of the community at every level of changemaking. Changemakers identifies and connects the best social innovators and implementers through online competitions and changeshops, an online network for scaling-up innovation. Participants compete to surface the most promising solutions, and then collaborate to refine, enrich, and implement them. Changeshops offer a place to plug game-changing ideas into networks of resources, talent, and support. Changemakers builds on Ashoka’s three-decade history of transforming the citizen sector by building the largest association of leading social entrepreneurs in the world. For more information about Changemakers, please click here.

What is the history of Changemakers?

Click here for a timeline story about the birth and ongoing evolution of Changemakers

 How is Changemakers connected to Ashoka?

Ashoka, founded in 1980, is the pioneer of the global field of social entrepreneurship. It has supported more than 2,000 fellowships for leading social entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries. Changemakers has been an Ashoka initiative since 1994 that focuses on advancing the vision of an “Everyone a Changemaker®” world. Through online collaborations and communication, Changemakers helps advance and scale-up blossoming social innovations.

What is the difference between Ashoka Fellows and Changemakers winners?

Changemakers winners are the best ideas in social innovation from around the world that are discovered through open source competitions and selected by a vote of the Changemakers global online community. Ashoka Fellows are leading social entrepreneurs who we recognize have innovative solutions to social problems, and the potential to change patterns across society. All Ashoka Fellows must undergo a rigorous search and selection process in which they demonstrate that they fully meet Ashoka’s search and selection criteria, and they are also eligible to enter Changemakers competitions.

How do I become a member of Changemakers?

Easy! Create an online profile. You can tell the community a little about what inspires you and what change you’d like to see in the world. Changemakers is yours to explore. You decide how it can help you take action, no matter how new or seasoned you are in the world of social change. Whether through discussions, submitting innovations, collaborating in groups, following changeshops, alerting others to great solutions you’ve discovered, or simply learning more about the issues you care about, your participation on the site makes you a member.

What is Open Growth?

Changemakers has established itself as a pioneer in applying an open-source approach to showcasing and supporting innovations for social change through its collaborative competitions. Now, Changemakers provides tools that not only identify solutions, but help them grow. It’s part of a new trend in the social sector called Open Growth. Its goal is to provide a transparent network, open to all, for bringing resources to innovative solutions so they can scale-up their impact on the world. It’s called Open Growth because it’s based on the open tracking of progress. It gives investors a way to track innovators’ success and reward it, while improving their own ROI.

If I know of a great idea, or have one of my own, what should I do?

There are many ways to let this community know about innovative ideas for making the world better. In fact, our community is clamoring to know about them, so please share! You can nominate a solution to enter one of our competitions, or post your idea in the resource section of a related issues page. If you’ve had conversations with other innovators in your field and feel confident that your idea is ready to grow, you can open a changeshop to start finding collaborators and resources.

Do you have employment opportunities or internship openings?

Changemakers is always seeking individuals who see opportunities when faced with barriers, build meaningful partnerships to collaborate on ideas, and harness technology to build a strong, lasting community for change. Our careers page lists all currently available positions.


About Changeshops

What is a changeshop?

Changeshops are a new feature of the Changemakers platform (still in the development stage, but open for you to use) that allows anyone to join the Open Growth movement by sharing an idea, offering or seeking skills, talent, and support, or investing in systems-changing solutions. If you’re working for social change, a changeshop is a powerful tool for communicating with funders and streamlining investment.

What will a changeshop do for me?

If you’re working on an innovation or venture, opening a changeshop will make it easier to connect and keep in touch with funders and investors. Changeshops also provide a place to source the talent, connections, and attention you need to grow. And if you’re an investor, following changeshops will allow you to more effectively and efficiently discover and track great innovations with a high ROI.

How do I get started?

If you’ve already entered a competition, you can easily transfer all of the details about your innovation to a changeshop in a few simple steps by clicking on the "Convert Entry" button on this page. If you’ve never entered a competition, just click here to get started.

How do I see other people's changeshops?

Start by searching changeshop. The search page also displays the changeshops that have been most recently added, and the most recent "needs" listed by changeshop owners.

How does a changeshop work?

A changeshop is like an online storefront for a new idea, innovation, or social venture. A changeshop includes photos, descriptions, goals, and updates about an idea, and it creates a place to request and discover necessary resources and support. Soon, it will also be a better way to launch, run, track, and enter Changemakers competitions, as well as other competitions and funder RFPs.

A changeshop also provides an important marketing tool: The growth tracker is a place to establish your goals and milestones, and to broadcast your success. Your growth tracker gives would-be investors insight into your ambition and the ROI they can expect. In a nutshell, the growth tracker improves fundraising.

Over the course of the next year, we’ll be unveiling features that make changeshops even more effective, including connections to talent networks that help recruit volunteers, staff, and pro-bono consultants, as well as social media connectivity to syndicate your Changemakers content.

Who is a changeshop for?

It’s part of an effort to build an “Everyone a Changemaker” world; so everyone is invited to engage with changeshops. Social entrepreneurs can use a changeshop as a way to connect with others in their field, attract supporters, and market to investors. Anyone who wants to support change can track great ideas through changeshops, and even offer their skills or talents (such as web design or translation).

Donors and investors are a vital part of the network that ties into Changemakers. New tools like changeshops make it easier for them to follow and discover new solutions, as well as be more closely involved—and invested—in the innovations they support.

What do you mean by "beta"?

Changeshops is currently in public beta—that means it’s not yet a finished product. We are still developing the tool with your help; your feedback, ideas, and recommendations help us understand how changeshops can improve.

Transparency and collaboration are the tenets of Open Growth; during our beta period, we’re living these principles by inviting you, the Changemakers community, to see the “factory floor.” We need your help and participation. We’re offering challenges and competitions to inspire and reward early community members, and early participants have a strong voice in the shape of the site. We hope you’ll enjoy participating and share your feedback.


Log in & Password Issues

I forgot my password. How do I change it?

Step 1: Select "Log In" at the right top of the Changemakers home page.
Step 2: Click the "Forget Your Password?" link. Enter your email address, and we'll send you instructions on how to reset your password.

How do I change the email address registered with my account?

Step 1: Log into your Changemakers account.
Step 2: Click "Edit" in the upper left corner of the page above your profile picture.
Step 3: Enter your new email address in the field provided, confirm it, and click "Save."


Competitions Related Questions

How can I, or my organization, sponsor a competition?

Submit your suggestions and ideas for a competition to [email protected] and we will follow up promptly. Sponsors work with the Changemakers team to frame the central question for a competition and set goals, and Changemakers does the rest. Our open sourcing process allows the sponsor, and its community, to engage with on-the-ground innovators around the world in real time, and to help find and support solutions that are ready to scale-up now.

You can also sponsor a community changeshop to foster a spirit of collaboration and rapid innovation around a particular idea, and channel support to the best ideas that rise from that collaboration.

How do you decide the theme of a collaborative competition?

Changemakers collaborative competitions are sponsored by motivated companies, organizations, and individuals who want to engage their networks and new communities around social challenges that represent opportunities to solve problems. Through the competitions, they source innovative solutions from every part of the world, engage participants from every level and sector of society, and drive issues to the next level of innovation. Sponsors collaborate with Changemakers team members to frame the central question for a competition, aligning the process to achieve desired outcomes. Changemakers can do the rest: managing administrative, technical, marketing, and competition judging responsibilities. The open sourcing process allows sponsors, and their communities, to engage with on-the-ground innovators in real time, and to help drive the field to a new level of innovation and action.

Does registering on and creating a profile automatically create a competition entry for me?

No. Registering on and creating your profile is the first step to get started. Once you have your username and password, select the competition you want to enter and then click on the "Enter an Idea" tab to go to the online entry form. Once completed and published, your entry will appear on the list of submitted entries that anyone can view online. If you can see your entry listed, you have successfully participated in the competition.

How can I view my past entries that I submitted for competitions, or track my past discussions and comments?

Simple! Once you are logged into your account, scroll down to view the “All Activities” tab below your profile picture. This will allow you to view your various activities on the website. For example, you could select the “Entries” tab to review or edit your idea submissions to a competition, or you can select the “Comments” tab to track past discussions and comments, and click on the underlined links to change and revise your comments. You can easily browse through the specific tabs to make or edit any activities on the website.

Can I submit an online application more than once?

Because competitions vary in topic, any individual or organization is eligible to participate on the competitions that are relevant to them.

What are the standard assessment criteria to win a specific competition?

Our assessment criteria depend upon the field and sector of a competition. However, as a general standard, qualifying entries will be evaluated against the following basic criteria:

  • Innovation: This is the knock-out test. The entrant(s) must describe a systemic or disruptive innovation with the potential to develop lasting partnerships for the advancement of the sector involved, and related fields.
  • Social Impact: This criterion focuses on the candidate's idea, not the candidate. It is important that the competition entry provides a system-changing solution for the issue it addresses. Some entries will have proven successes at the local level, while others may have already engaged millions of people across multiple regions. Innovative ideas must maximize the opportunity for collaboration in the competition’s focus sector and have demonstrated impact, as well as the potential for scale and replication.
  • Sustainability: The proposals must have a clear “road map” for reaching long-term goals and securing financial backing—entries should describe not only how they currently finance their work, but also how they plan to finance in the future. They should also have a realistic time frame for implementation. Proposals should highlight the support they have received from both the public and private sectors.

You can find specific criteria and guidelines for each competition on the respective page of a competition.

What if my idea is not ready to win a prize in a competition–should I still submit it?

Certainly! You can benefit by receiving feedback from the reviewers of your entry, and from other participants. Additionally, other changemakers may find your entry and contact you to suggest possible collaborations and share networks.

What other benefits do I get for entering a competition, other than being eligible to win the prizes?

The primary benefits of sharing your ideas on Changemakers include increasing your level of visibility, gaining opportunities for collaborations, and increasing the number of connections and networks you get through the Changemakers community. In addition, stories and updates about our entrants, finalists, and winners are regularly featured on our blog and through our external content partners, such as Forbes, Hufffington Post, etc. Participants who submit ideas that match the scope of a particular competition may also gain future funding opportunities with our partners. We regularly find additional funders to help some of the best ideas grow, even after the close of a competition.

Can I enter an idea in languages other than English?

Currently, Changemakers supports four languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. While we welcome applicants from around the world, we require that applications and any subsequent materials be submitted in the above four languages (unless otherwise specified).

Who do I contact if I have a question or problem or need help?

Send an email to [email protected] and we will respond promptly.