América Solidaria aims to promote effective volunteer engagement among the countries of the Americas. The main objective of the organization is to promote regional and multilateral development between the different countries of the continent. América Solidaria aims to accomplish this through volunteer networks of young professionals who work with a sense of professionalism and social awareness to promote social integration and solidarity in the countries where they have been placed. Founded in Chile, América Solidaria now works throughout South America and the Caribbean and would like to extend the scope of its work to include the United States.
Definition of Problem
Today there are volunteers coming from five different countries, but there is no consistent application, selection or support system across countries. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and remedied. Considering the first report and analysis by students of the “Development Advisory Teams” (spring 2013), America Solidaria would like to continue to deepen the analysis and the design of their volunteer programs, comparing their work with similar initiatives in the United States, especially as it relates to the application process, screening, selection and support Specifically, America Solidaria are interested in the following areas of analysis:
A. Models and Systems for Volunteer Nominations: A review of the application processes of organizations similar to American Solidaria (on timing of placement, phasing, duration, required documentation etc.) and tools used and how these tools allow them to streamline application processes.
B. Selection Process and Evaluation of Volunteers: Review of different models of selection of volunteers, stages, selection criteria and indicators of successful selection that includes looking at the impact that these volunteers make.
C. Volunteers Accompaniment Processes: Finally a review of the processes accompanying the volunteers once they start their work in their respective destinations.
Initial Steps and Options
América Solidaria would like a team of students to consider what other similar organizations have done when facing these challenges of identification, selection, placement, and measuring impact of their volunteers. Organizations of particular interest include:
Students on this DAT project will also work together with computer science students from Notre Dame engineering Prof. Raul Santelices’ class on some more technical aspects of building a software system for recruitment and selection of volunteers. Many of the materials are in Spanish, so it would be helpful if some team members have a knowledge of Spanish.