Volmundo’s stated mission is very simple:
We want to help people help the world
Whilst we recognise that changing the world is not easy, we believe the process to get involved in any activity trying to affect positive change should not be complicated; it should be simple and it should be social. So we built a transparent, social platform to list and search for world changing opportunities with organisations around the world.
We aim to connect passionate individuals with social and community projects and organisations, so that they can more easily find and work with one another in an effective and ethical way. We work on the principles of the social economy – that people have more than just money to give, and that if we can more efficiently share the different resources individuals have to offer, we can build a better future.
Projects list the skills and resources they need to recruit. The social economy finds willing individuals who have those resources to give, be it skills, experience, knowledge, time or money. We also aim to help increase awareness of the challenges facing modern social and community building projects to help individuals be better prepared to make the most impact possible for however long they are involved.
This is the Volmundo philosophy, to harness the personal responsibility we all have to create brighter communities and environments, into the collaborative power of the social.
We want to grow the social economy together for the benefit of everyone.
Be ethical. Be Transparent. Be social. Get involved.
The phrase “volmundo” in Spanish, loosely translates to “volunteers of the world” and originates from our intrepid founder Ewoud Ybema. He had his first taste of social and community project work as an interim volunteer project manager in Costa Rica, whilst taking a career break. This experience had a profound impact on him, encouraging his appetite to work on social impact causes more permanently.
Ewoud thrived on the community spirit fostered at his project. However, he could not help but be frustrated by some of the wider problems he faced. In his previous career, he was used to modern data and system processes giving him the information he needed to make fast, informed decisions. As a project manager working on small-scale operations with limited resources in vulnerable communities, he experienced the opposite.
He often found that individuals arriving from various countries regularly lacked knowledge relevant to the project’s objectives. Or, that highly-qualified volunteers otherwise regularly felt they were missing out on opportunities to really make a deeper contribution. He also knew first-hand the difficulties of recruitment for volunteer roles, especially with limited budgets.
He also encountered another common problem he felt directly contradicted the spirit of international volunteering organisations. Whilst it is common for travellers to use established agencies to help arrange their volunteering trip, this also leads to a scenario many volunteers using such arrangements are completely unaware of, or feel is unavoidable. An agency’s administration fee for arranging a trip, is often much greater than the fee the agency pays to an individual project for taking on the volunteer.
It is not unusual for daily fees to be two or three times higher than the sum received by the project. With a trip of a few weeks or longer, this means potentially thousands of dollars from just one single volunteer being diverted away from the actual causes people are trying to support.
From his background in engineering and HR/project management, Ewoud’s natural inclination to try to solve a problem kicked into gear. Ewoud knew there had to be a better way.
Back in Europe and armed with his desire to help local communities wherever they are found, Ewoud planned to use his engineering background and business processes optimization skills to make a difference. He began working on an idea, a platform to connect individuals and help people help the world.
Volmundo was founded on the belief that there is a better way, and that your money should go to where it’s needed most. Today Volmundo works with more than just volunteering projects. One of the greatest challenges in the Volmundo story has been to witness the lack of financial resources available to most organisations relying on volunteers.
We consistently hit a glass ceiling in terms of impact and innovation. So today, we encourage any group trying to develop positive social and environmental change, whether they are an NGO, social enterprise or private members of the community looking to do more. As long as the main objective is about growing the social economy for all, and not only growing private profits.
Because wherever you come from, getting involved and doing something good should be simple.
Meet The Team
The team at Volmundo, headed up by the founder, Ewoud Ybema, is truly international, with representatives from across the world.
Between them, they offer a wealth of experiences from the world of volunteering, having worked on a range of causes and projects in different countries.
Founder & CEO
Ewoud is the founder of Volmundo. His personal experience working as interim project manager for a volunteer project working with marine conservation in Costa Rica first gave him the idea to start Volmundo. His intimate knowledge of the day to day challenges faced by international volunteer organisations in recruiting the right skills, led him to believe that there should be an easier way to match volunteers to the right role. He is experienced in human resource management, business process optimisation, health, safety and environmental management and holds a BSc. in Commercial Engineering from the HZ University of Applied Sciences.CONNECT ON LINKEDIN
Research & Analytics
Stefano is in charge of Research & Analytics. He has studied data science at the Johns Hopkins University and is experienced with database administration, economic modeling and data analyses. His previous experience includes working for the Italian Ministry of Environment, and today Stefano is passionate about improving solutions for tomorrow’s volunteers with better data and better technology.CONNECT ON LINKEDIN
Operations & Marketing
Huong is a resilient and thorough professional with working experience in both Vietnam and Norway. Huong learned Norwegian in order to achieve her MSc in International Management from the BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo. She was strongly involved in voluntary projects in Vietnam, giving her a good understanding of the typical challenges that volunteers and organisations have to deal with. She hopes to contribute in making it easier for anyone to improve local communities and create a better world.CONNECT ON LINKEDIN
Research & Data Analysis
Aparna is currently an independent data and text analyst. Her core expertise is in the area of behavioral research and she aspires to combine this knowledge with data analytics to make a positive difference to the society and communities at large. Aparna has doctoral degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of Toledo, USA.CONNECT ON LINKEDIN
Dr. Ashish K. Sahu
Strategy & Finance
Ashish is currently serving as a board member at the Society of Petroleum Engineers ( SPE – Oslo ) and the International Association for Human Values ( IAHV – Norway ). He is committed to shaping a better world, having participated or organised various events both in Norway and further afield, including fundraising for the Haiti victims, female equality, The Uganda project, and the World Forum for Ethics in Business in Geneva. He holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, USA and an MBA from BI Norwegian Business School ( Oslo ).CONNECT ON LINKEDIN
Along with his native England, Tom has lived in both the USA and Norway. He holds a BA in Film and American Studies, along with an MA in Media and Cultural Politics, both from the University of East Anglia, Norwich (UK). Tom has extensive experience in resource management and training strategy as the leader of a volunteer group for a local branch of the Norwegian Red Cross. As a freelance writer, he believes strongly in the power of digital technology to help the world spread ideas, and in giving everyone a chance to have their story told. He is certified in both Google Analytics and Google Adwords, along with an inbound marketing certification from Hubspot.CONNECT ON LINKEDIN
Strategy & Intercultural Relations
Dimitris has more than 20 years experience in the tourism industry, including as a tour operator owner and tour director. He has visited every continent and more than 100 countries. A true polyglot, he has lived in seven countries and can hold conversations in roughly a dozen languages! He holds an MBA with honours from BI Norwegian Business School ( Oslo ), and a Master of International Studies. He also has experience as a webmaster and is a member of the Society of Intercultural Education Training and Research.CONNECT ON LINKEDIN