May 25, 2024

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We Make Change: Transforming Volunteering Through Tech

The challenges the world faces today are more urgent than ever. Climate change, poverty, and inequality persist and are, in some cases, even worsening. Finding the time and opportunities to combat these challenges is hard for most, while organizations on the front line can face difficulties getting the people and skills they need to scale their impact. This is where We Make Change comes in. 

Founders James and Jens. Photo Credit: We Make Change

James Sancto and Jens Christian Trier are the up-and-coming tech startup founders of We Make Change, a leading impact platform enabling anyone anywhere to make a difference anytime by volunteering remotely with startups changing the world. Individuals can volunteer with startups matching their causes, skills, and schedules in just a few clicks. Companies engage employees through their “Change Day” online volunteering events. Impact startups can get whatever skills they need, whenever they need them, entirely for free.

“I studied business at university and wanted to use entrepreneurial skills for good, but didn’t know how I could. I tried countless volunteer platforms and couldn’t find opportunities that fit my causes, skills, and schedule,” said Sancto. “As a consultant for impact startups, I knew they often can’t afford the skills they need to scale. So I quit my job to found We Make Change and connect people with skills to impact startups who need them.”

The concept for We Make Change was cultivated in a flat in East London in 2016. Initially, I built a grassroots community of people who wanted a new way of volunteering beyond the stale and tired usual opportunities of picking litter and painting sheds. Using remote working technology years before the pandemic, Sancto and Trier quickly built a global community of passionate volunteers and impact startups. 

“As a student of international relations and politics, I saw its limitations to making real change. While chairing Model United Nations conferences, I met young people from across the world who took time out of their schedules to gather and discuss real-world challenges and together find solutions to them. I met James at one of these conferences, and together we decided to address this challenge,” said Trier.

The platform was launched in 2020, aiming to make volunteering as simple as streaming. Since then, We Make Change has grown from an initial idea to a movement of 35,000 volunteers, 1,200 impact startups, and companies, including PA Consulting, CSG, and Kimberly-Clark, all while being entirely bootstrapped and led by a small staff working remotely together from all over the world.

“We can get almost anything we want in a click… Why can’t we use that same technology to make the change we want to see? Our journey as impact entrepreneurs has been a steep learning curve. Having even studied business, there’s nothing that can prepare you for running a startup. Whether it’s balancing the demands of the day-to-day with the need for a cohesive strategy, it’s a lot,” said Sancto.

“The most rewarding thing about my work is that I can see impact happen every day. I get inspired by people every day dedicated to making the world a better place. It’s amazing to also see that in action! But more importantly, I am pleased to be taking a lead with my co-founder and friend James in building the remote volunteering revolution, enabling anyone, anywhere, to address the causes they care about,” said Trier.

We Make Change has recently been selected to join Techstars, the largest pre-seed investor in the world, as part of their Sustainability Paris Accelerator. This signals the next important step in We Make Change’s journey to enabling anyone anywhere to make positive differences anytime. 

To learn more about We Make Change and how you can be part of the remote volunteering revolution, visit wemakechange.org.

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By I&T Today

Innovation & Tech Today features a wide variety of writers on tech, science, business, sustainability, and culture. Have an idea? Visit us here: https://innotechtoday.com/submit/

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