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Borderless Blog - August 2011
The Misconceptions of Skills-Based Volunteerism
A couple of Fridays ago, I had the opportunity to lead a “tabletop discussion” on International Corporate Volunteer (ICV) programs at the Society for International Development’s World Congress. Our table seemed to gather all kindred souls—development professionals who had worked with volunteer advisors on skills-based assignments within international programs, and who had found the volunteers to be excellent resources.
As the conversation progressed, we all acknowledged that we were fighting an uphill battle to convince the development world that volunteers really provide value. One participant asked me why I thought that was the case. I did not have an easy answer, since the ongoing resistance to volunteer assistance appears to defy reason. Over the past few weeks, I gave that question lot of thought and there are several answers that came to mind.
Peer Learning in Impact Investing
I just returned from delivering a five day training for impact investment professionals in Mexico City for ANDE (Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs). What a great group of talented and committed professionals seeking to make the world a better place through sustainable investments in social enterprises!
During this training, it was clear that there is a need for mechanisms for impact investment professionals to share their experiences and approaches on conducting due diligence, structuring and valuing companies, adding post-investment value and so forth...
International Corporate Volunteerism Builds Better Leaders
"By placing future leaders into an unfamiliar situation, the (assignment) forced us all to stretch and learn a great deal of coping, leadership and team work skills. With all the ambiguity with the SOW, we each learned how to deal with the unknown productively, rather than looking for excuses and being stalled. These are crucial learning points for an organization's future leadership team and being in a completely different culture also forced us to re-evaluate our assumptions and perceptions on things we took for granted. Bottom-line is we all came out of this learning experience more equipped to lead a global multi-national company.” --ICV participant, Immediate post-assignment survey
The above quote is from a participant in one of CDS’ International Corporate Volunteer Programs. I think it does a great job of highlighting how these types of programs encourage professional and personal growth...