Volunteer

Volunteering with Ashoka offers you a chance to use your unique talent and skills to help global Ashoka teams and leading social entrepreneurs across the world scale their impact. Ashoka Fellows’ needs could range from community outreach to organizational development, while Ashoka staff needs might vary from research to strategic analyses.

Ashoka does not make volunteer “placements” but facilitates connections with staff and Fellows through the Ashoka-LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace. When you apply for a volunteer opportunity that is posted on the Marketplace, the person placing the ad will receive your application directly in their inbox. Because some ads generate enormous volunteer response, you will usually be contacted only if you are a good fit for the position, at which time you can directly discuss the details with the person who is managing the opportunity. Many volunteers who are traveling find the Volunteer Checklist below to be a helpful guide for clarifying these details and other expectations.

Many Fellows prefer on-site volunteers who can gain an understanding of the context for their work, but there are project-specific opportunities like web or graphic design, writing, or translation that can be done virtually. Any amenities related to the volunteer position will be posted on the ad. It’s important to note that neither Ashoka nor its Fellows can cover your travel expenses, but work-related local travel is often compensated. Housing can sometimes be provided, and if not, you will receive help finding an affordable and safe place to stay. If a stipend of any kind is offered, it will be posted in the ad.

The most important aspect of any volunteer engagement is having a good understanding about what is required, and being able to deliver it in the specified timeframe. Your work is important and valued, and we want to make sure that expectations are made clear and met by both parties! It’s also helpful to remember that the majority of Ashoka Fellows work in under-resourced and undeveloped areas, so along with your commitment, please bring your empathy, flexibility, team spirit, and good humor.

We look forward to welcoming you into our Changemaker community as an Ashoka Volunteer!

Volunteer Checklist

Volunteer Project

  1. What is the specific activity or project I will be undertaking?
  2. Does it have a timeframe for completion?
  3. What days and hours will I be expected to work?
  4. Who will be my supervisor?
  5. Are staff or volunteer evaluations conducted and if so, how often?
  6. If there is a stipend, how much will it be and when will I receive it?
  7. What are the measures you will use to consider my time with you and your organization a true success?

Volunteer Requirements

  1. What skills must I have to do the job well?
  2. What languages and levels of fluency are required to do the job well?
  3. What costs should I be prepared to cover during my stay?

Infrastructure

  1. Will I have a specific workspace?
  2. Will it have a computer and will I have internet access?
  3. How many staff members are there in the organization? How often does the staff meet together?
  4. Is there cell phone reception? If not, what is a landline number where I can be reached or place outgoing calls?
  5. How do I reach the volunteer site? Directions?
  6. Will I be met at the airport and by whom? What is their contact information? How far away is the airport from where I will be working?
  7. Is there public transportation easily available? How much does it generally cost?
  8. Are there medical services nearby? Where is the nearest hospital?
  9. Is there a post office, pharmacy, grocery store, laundromat, or a bank nearby? If not, how far away are they and how would I reach them?

Accommodation

  1. Can you provide housing? If so, where exactly will I be living and with whom? What is their contact information?
  2. If it’s not provided, what are some available housing options and what do they cost? Can you put me in touch with them or reserve a space on my behalf?
  3. Will I have my own room or will I be sharing with someone else?
  4. Will I have the use of a kitchen?

References

  1. Have you had volunteers before? If so, for how long?
  2. Will you share with me names and contact information for one to three previous volunteers who I can talk with to learn more about the volunteer experience?

Still have questions? Contact volunteers@ashoka.org.

Frequently Asked Questions About Volunteering with Ashoka

Does Ashoka match or place volunteers with their staff or Fellows?

We facilitate the connection between volunteers and those who need them by advertising volunteer openings on the Ashoka-LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace. We do not match or place volunteers, but instead rely on the staff member or Fellow to respond to your application and evaluate if the fit is right. If it is, they will provide an interview, check references, and help arrange all the details of your engagement.

Can I work directly with an Ashoka Fellow?

Yes! You will find current requests for volunteers from Fellows on Ashoka-LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace.

What kind of help are Fellows usually looking for?

It very much depends on the work a Fellow is doing. Sometimes they need someone who can provide hands-on help with outreach or teaching, but often they have organizational development needs such as PR and marketing, revenue generation, sustainability strategies, research, strategic analysis, or web design and content development.

Can I work remotely?

Yes! Most Fellows prefer on-site volunteers because it makes for a better understanding of their work and for more productive relationships, but there are many projects that can be done virtually. Some of these might include web or graphic design, research, business plan development, proposal writing and review, market analyses, or specific strategic advice. Each opportunity in the Ashoka-LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace will be marked as "virtual" if the work can be done remotely.

Can Ashoka help me with any of my travel or housing expenses?

We wish we could, but do not have the capacity to do so. Fellows can sometimes cover local travel expenses that are work related, offer housing, or help you find an affordable and safe place to stay. However, they cannot help you with long distance travel expenses, so if you are traveling you should be prepared to pay your own way.

What should I expect if I am traveling to a Fellow’s site?

Many Fellows work in areas where the infrastructure is poor and the need is great. You might want to consider how comfortable you are with living in rural, rustic and unfamiliar environments. Before you commit to the volunteer opportunity, you should talk through your questions with the Fellow. We have provided this Volunteer Checklist to help guide you.

How do I get information on getting a visa or on security issues?

You can find out about visa requirements at the country’s embassy. The U.S. State Department's travel advisories can be a helpful resource for determining the safety of the country you are visiting. Local security should be discussed with the office or Fellow with whom you're working.

What about volunteering with Ashoka Global or with one of the country offices?

Ashoka has many wonderful strategic partnerships which give us access to high level consultations, but there are often staff members with projects needing immediate attention or a particular skill set. In those cases, staff will advertise their need on the Ashoka-LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace.

What if there isn’t an opening on the Ashoka-LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace that interests me?

Volunteer postings on the Marketplace change regularly, so keep an eye on it until you see an opportunity you’d like to pursue.

What if my application for a volunteer opportunity is not selected?

Ashoka is fortunate to have many capable volunteers eager to help. If you’re not chosen for a particular opportunity we hope that you will continue to apply for others! You will also have an option on your volunteer application to indicate whether you'd like to help with projects outside of the one for which you applied. By checking that option, we may contact you directly as needs arise to see if you're interested and available.

What is expected of me as a volunteer?

As a volunteer, we expect that you act professionally and fulfill your commitment. Expectations are high and we know you will meet them! The most important qualities to have are integrity, empathy, entrepreneurial spirit, collegiality, flexibility, perseverance, and diligence. And a sense of humor is always a plus! If you are chosen for a volunteer opportunity, you will likely be asked to sign a Volunteer Agreement that will detail the timeframe and the expected deliverables.

Will volunteering with Ashoka help me gain future employment there?

Volunteering with Ashoka Global or one of our regional offices is a great way to learn more about social entrepreneurship and how our team of teams functions. Volunteers and interns are sometimes great staff candidates, but the selection process is very rigorous and time consuming. Ashoka’s criteria for staff hiring is similar to what is used for selecting Ashoka Fellows!
Learn more about how Ashoka hires its staff >>

Who can I contact if I have any other questions?

The person you’re volunteering with is your best source of information for questions related to a specific opportunity. The Volunteer Checklist can help guide you in finding out useful information. We are available to answer further questions or to provide technical help with your application at volunteers@ashoka.org.