1. Accommodation suggested is basic but comfortable and may include sharing a room with another volunteer. We will provide a mix of different kinds of accommodation in our suggestions, some budget with only fans and some slightly higher end with A/C.
2. A volunteer placement always comes with an aspect of adventure. This may mean travelling via public transport, living in conditions when in the field that are different to back home such as not always having hot water or electricity.
3. When you undertake an assignment you are saying that you want to adhere to the slightly more risky conditions of not being in a fully supported and managed volunteer programme, you want to manage your own experience and the outcomes and impact of your work.
4. We are running a pilot of _TheAssignment in April/May in Sri Lanka & India whilst we have management teams in location as additional support whilst you conduct your volunteer placement. We are fully expecting all participants to collaborate with us in terms of providing feedback and helping develop the product for future participants.



    Launch, develop & scale social impact ventures.

    This is flexible specialist volunteering

    for career breakers who want to make an impact in emerging markets overseas.

    From as little as £650.00



  • Let's Break It Down

    It's hard to fit your career break into a pre-determined volunteer programme schedule.

    But you want to do something meaningful, and travel with purpose during your time out. And have an adventure!

    _SocialStarters has been running social enterprise volunteer programmes for skilled professionals, across 4 countries around the world since 2014. Welcome to the _The Assignment.

    You're passionate about Social Entrepreneurship

    You are passionate about international development, you dream about doing field work, and you feel you have relevant skills to share with a grassroots or more established social entrepreneur. Perhaps you've seen our Immersion Programme advertised and you wanted to #JoinUs in either India, Sri Lanka or Brazil but the timings didn't quite work. Or maybe you wanted to volunteer for a shorter or longer period of time. Whatever your motivation, you'd like to be thrown in the deep end, learn fast, fail often and discover what it takes to make a tangible impact in the world.

    Independence & Autonomy

    For those who would like to spend between roughly 4 to 12 weeks volunteering for a social impact organisation who are looking for your specialist skills, _TheAssignment provides a more flexible approach that puts you in control of your time away.


    You get yourself there, arrange your own accommodation and choose your length of stay - partly determined by your client's needs but also your own. 4 weeks is our guideline minimum number of weeks in order to truly make an impact but some assignments might be able to be completed between 2-4 weeks, and others might demand more of your time.


    You are well travelled and relish the challenge of taking on a self-managed client assignment. With autonomy over the structure of the placement and with flexibility on the start & end dates _TheAssignment gives you the freedom to manage your own experience!


    This is an adventurous way to volunteer with impactful organisations looking to be more financially sustainable. So if you have the right skills, attitude and professional experience then we'd love you to #JoinUs.

    Who we work with

    Social Enterprises, Start-Ups, NGOs, Social Entrepreneurs, Activists & Social Purpose Businesses looking to make an impact in their communities. They might be pure start-ups, be in their first 1-3 years, looking to scale, or are 20 years into their impact work but are struggling to adapt in the new world. They all need support to be more financially sustainable and tell their impact stories.

    What's included for the price?

    Apply below to join one of our assignments. It could be anything specific that a social impact organisation is looking for - from apparel design, to testing pricing strategies, building partnerships, doing international PR or making a film about Social Enterprise.


    Included in your _Assignment:


    Prior to departure:

    - A Detailed Host Organisation Profile

    - Joint discussion with client to refine your Job Description

    - You receive a Country Guide & Pre-Programme Guide with budget guidelines and accommodation suggestions

    - A digital toolkit of useful consultancy tools

    - Assignment and introduction to your Virtual Programme Support Manager


    - Introduction to in-country partners and/or programme support who know the host organisations

    - The freedom to choose where you live

    - Regular check in sessions with your Virtual Programme Support Manager

    Timings - Launching April 2016

    We are launching _TheAssignment in April 2016 in both India & Sri Lanka whilst _SocialStarters remote working staff are currently on hand living in the programme locations.


    Until the first week of June we have programme teams in India & Sri Lanka running _SocialStarters. This means that you will have our volunteer management teams on hand for support.

    The Process

    1. You either apply for a role that you have seen advertised on our website or via one of our partner channels

    2. We arrange a recruitment call to get to know you better and find out your motivations for joining the programme

    3. Following the initial chat, we'll give you some feedback as to your suitability for the role and if suitable share your CV with the host organisation.

    4. Providing that is successful, you want to #JoinUs and the host organisation is happy to take you on board, we'll ask you to secure your place via a non-refundable deposit of £250.00.

    5. We'll then arrange a joint virtual call with your host organisation to discuss the requirements of the role.

    6. You'll then be sent a worked up contract for you and the host organisation to approve. This then becomes your job description and Volunteer Agreement.

    7. Our operations team then introduce you to your Virtual Programme Support Manager

    8. We send out our Pre-Programme Guide, Country Guide, which include budget and accommodation options. We then send you your Pre-Programme Readings and invite you to submit your personal details such as passport scan, travel documents and other required information.

    9. You book your flights, visas and pay your balance within one month from when you secure your place.

    10. You arrive. You meet with your host organisation to define your SMART objectives and get a check in from your Virtual Programme Support Manager to see how you are settling in!



    After quitting my job and a long search into doing something different, the volunteering trip to Sri Lanka helping social startups was the best that could happen to me. I got so much inspiration and motivation that I'm keen to set up my own social startup soon. I thank you so much for making all this happen!

    Johannes Mohr, Packaging & Design Specialist and now Co-Founder of Karma Foods, Germany


  • TV Production Specialist - Factual Entertainment

    Develop a factual entertainment TV show about social enterprise in Sri Lanka that's due for broadcast in the fall. Our client was support from a specialist throughout the commissioning process, fundraising as well as pre-production development and direction.


    Client: Social Enterprise Lanka

    Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka

    Duration: 4-8 weeks

    Stakeholder Management Specialist

    Role: Manage the development of a new government supported CSR project for a joint-working-committee with India's largest social enterprise incubator.

    Skills/experience required: Communications and Negotiation Skills, Mediation and Facilitation, Organisational skills, Management of multiple teams/departments


    Client: UnLtd Hyderabad

    Location: Hi-Tech City, Hyderabad, India

    Duration: 4-6 weeks

    Digital Strategist

    Put your community building and social media skills into practice with a <1 year social start-up in Sri Lanka who are looking to develop their digital presence in order to grow the social enterprise eco-system in Sri Lanka.


    Client: Social Enterprise Lanka

    Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka

    Duration: 4 -12 weeks

    International Network Builder

    Do you have experience in building key strategic relationships with international clients, government organisations, NGOs, charities, brands or financial institutions?


    Client: Social Enterprise Lanka

    Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka

    Duration: Ideally 6 -12 weeks

    International Publicist (TV Production)

    Bring the story of a new and exciting TV show about social enterprise in Sri Lanka to a local & international audience and play a role in developing Social Enterprise in Southern Asia.

    Client: Social Enterprise Lanka

    Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka

    Duration: 4-12 weeks

    Camera Person / Director - OB

    TV director / camera person required to shoot OB for new factual entertainment production in Sri Lanka that aims to raise awareness on a mass scale of the growing Social Enterprise economy in Sri Lanka.


    Client: Social Enterprise Lanka

    Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka

    Duration: 2-4 weeks

    Community Development Strategist (Tech Solution)

    Join Sri Lanka's biggest social enterprise community, and support them in the development of an exciting new tech solution for web and mobile to curate and connect a special community of socially and environmentally impactful artisans and enterprises.


    Client: Good Market

    Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka

    Duration: 5-6 weeks, ideally in April/May/June

    Fundraising Specialist

    RideIT is a urban transport start-up bringing the sharing economy to Indian cities. They are creating an online platform that will change the way people travel. RideIT need someone with IT experience, who has perhaps worked in Investment Banking to work with the CEO in preparing the company to raise VC funding.

    Client: RideIT

    Location: Hyderabad, India

    Duration: Between 4-12 weeks

    This assignment has now been filled.

  • Bolt Ons

    We can also provide training , support you virtually in an area you're passionate in 

    and we'd like to incentivise you to bring your partner (business or otherwise).

    Training & Support

    Would you like to learn more about Social Entrepreneurship or Start-Up Methods?

    We're inviting you to #JoinUs for our Immersion Programme workshop series on social entrepreneurship, consultancy tools & techniques and start-up methods. And then you can travel off to do your assignment with a bunch of new and useful tools. Training Week Fee: £450.00.


    Training Dates & Locations:

    Auroville, India - 16th July - 27th August 2016

    Auroville, India - 17th Sept - 29th Oct 2016


    You can fly easily from Chennai, Auroville's nearest international airport, to Colombo and Hyderabad within 1 hour.

    1 Hour Coaching Call

    Coaching can be the support you need to discover your inner social changer.

    Sometimes it helps to speak to an expert, and even in just one hour you can gain some incredible insights that might make an impact in your life. We are pleased to offer you access to professionals for one of the following:


    - Life Coaching (introductory call). Find out more about how coaching can unlock your inner social changer with our resident Coach, Cristina (Life Creativist.)

    - How to Set Up A Volunteer Programme with Co-Founder, Anna Moran

    - How to Start Your Own Social Impact Organisation or Project with Co-Founder, Andrea Gamson

    - How to Build Your Virtual Company as a Digital Nomad, Chloe Wright

    - How to Build Your Personal Brand Online with Co-Founder, Andrea Gamson


    Each call will take place virtually over Skype (or a suitable alternative) and will last 1 hour.


    Coaching Costs:


    £80.00 - For participants in _TheAssignment or another _SocialStarters programme

    £120.00 - For non-participants in any _SocialStarters programmes

    Bring your partner

    Whether its your life partner, business parter or a travel buddy you might have someone who would like to join you.

    As a result of you taking a place,went, you can bring a loved one and they can share the experience, add value or volunteer. ASK FOR MORE INFO.

  • Meet the Team

    We have a team of around 15-20 staff and volunteers who support us around the world, below is the gang who will be supporting and delivering our April/May assignment offering in Asia.

    Chloe Wright

    Innovations Lead & Programme Designer


    Having recently quit her job in global IT sales and business development, Chloe returned to London from a stint working out of Singapore and joined the Escape Tribe. She started volunteering for _SocialStarters developing and testing ideas, and is now joining us in Sri Lanka for a few months to launch and develop _TheAssignment.


    Co-Founder & Social Enterpriser


    A former advertising and commercial media professional who used to work at The Sunday Times, Andrea co-founded _SocialStarters with Anna M as a direct response to there not being a platform to gain more experience in social enterprise overseas. Usually from London she is currently based in Sri Lanka working on developing new ideas & innovations that create change.

    Charlotte Hobson

    Sri Lanka Programme Manager


    After 6 years seeing The Challenge, a UK youth organisation grow from a 10 person start up into a 600 employee organisation Charlotte joined _SocialStarters as the Sri Lanka Programme Manager earlier this year to try her hand at being a digital nomad.

    Anna B

    Operations Manager & India Programme Manager


    Anna B has run Immersion and Social Innovation programmes in Rio de Janeiro, Auroville and Hyderabad over the last year for _SocialStarters. She's such a bright spark she also manages our global operations and all pre-programme customer comms.

  • Contact Us

    Want to find out more? Talk to Anna.B here