How can we structure volunteer opportunities in a way to enhance youth skills and increase employability? I share my experience with a Toronto-based non-profit called Endeavor.
In 2008, when I was in the early days of building my career, I joined a Toronto-based non-profit, called
Endeavor, that was just getting off the ground.
Volunteering has always been an important part of my life -- from soup kitchens, to park clean-ups, I liked to get involved in the community. However, at the time, I was looking for a longer-term volunteer engagement that would a) help me strengthen and/or learn a new skill, b) introduce me to new ideas and industries and c) build a network outside of my day job.
Endeavor launched with the focus of providing management consulting to non-profits that could not otherwise afford professional consulting. Young professionals from all walks of life were placed with various non-profits to enage in specific 6-month projects, with key goals and deliverables. Non-profits were chosen by Endeavor through an application and interview process to find the right fit between volunteer skill-sets and non-profit needs.
During my time there, I had the opportunity to learn how to structure a consulting engagement, build a scope of work, and begin to understand how to manage expectations with clients. Further, I worked on developing a marketing/launch plan for a non-profit starting a Toronto chapter, building out a social enterprise within an existing non-profit, and defining the vision, mission and objectives of a new non-profit. These engagements achieved all my objectives - I learned new skills since I had never worked in management consulting before, I learned more about the non-profit sector, and various initiatives within the non-profit sector, and extended my network.
Endeavor is an excellent model illustrating how structured and engaged volunteering can be used as a channel for training to increase employability.