In January of this year, I went to El Salvador. Excluding the pandemic, I’ve traveled to El Salvador every year since 2015. As a “Skillanthropist1” for the Business Council for Peace (Bpeace) I donate my skills to help grow small and medium-size businesses which then create jobs and lift families and entire communities. This model has worked in Afghanistan, Rwanda, El Salvador, Guatemala and now the United States. In 2021 we created 1,900 new jobs, which in turn have employed 14,000 individuals and supported more than 55,000 families. 63% of the businesses we advise are women-owned or led. Our 500+ business volunteers have donated more than $2.1 million in pro bono time.
The model doesn’t work unless we can match experts in their fields, our Skillanthropists, with the right businesses, our “Fast Runners2,” with which we work. Each business in our program chooses a “growth project3.” This is defined as the project which will have the greatest impact on accelerating the growth of that particular business. For example, a manufacturing company might need an expert in lean manufacturing. Another business might need a brand and marketing expert. In late June, I will be going back to El Salvador to work with a coffee cooperative on an HR-related growth project.
We continually need to add to our pool of Skillanthropists. Not all volunteer opportunities are in-country—many of them are virtual. In addition to working with individuals who want to volunteer their skills, we also have a proven model in which we partner with employers to match opportunities for their employees. We look at our needs AND the specific development needs of your individual employees. As a former HR executive I know that organizations often lack the development opportunities their employees currently need. This partnership can address that.
We currently need Skillanthropists with e-commerce expertise, digital marketing and HR experience. We are also looking for Skillanthropists who bring travel, hospitality and tourism expertise as well as experience in restaurant and food-related industries. If this seems like an opportunity for you or for your organization, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Susy Cheston at email@example.com.
You can do good by doing well while developing yourself and your employees.
1Skillanthropists. These are the experienced businesspeople who volunteer their knowledge and skills through Bpeace.
2 Fast Runners. These are small or medium-sized businesses that are ready to grow fast.
3 Growth Project. These are intense collaborations between Fast Runners and Skillanthropists over several months to tackle Fast Runners’ problems or address a growth opportunities.