In Your Network: Ami Bloomer
Ami Bloomer is the Founder and CEO of Give What You’re Good At (GWYGA), a skills-based volunteer match platform. She would like to make volunteering as valuable as possible for both the charities and the volunteers. She would like to get Fellows involved:
1) Please give a brief explanation of what it is you do and why?
I'm on a mission to enable professionals to make the biggest impact when giving their time. I created Give What You're Good At to enable professionals to build the capacity of charitable organisations they cared about. We use technology to match, measure and personalise the skilled volunteer experience. Consequently, 95% of professionals return to us and £1.3 million has been donated since March 2012.
I started my career as a Barrister. I was attracted to the Bar because of its long and proud pro bono culture. Pro bono creates win, win, win situations, improving health, well-being, helping professionals make contacts, fostering innovation, relieving isolation and equipping organisations to tackle difficult social problems.
55% of people who volunteer are coming from the professions. We need to inspire these people and others to use their skills and talents to face pressing social problems, our ageing population, youth unemployment and ever increasingly child poverty. My vision is a future where it is commonplace for all people to give their skills to a cause that matters to them.
2) What did you join the Fellowship for?
I joined the Fellowship to meet inspirational people and learn from leading thinkers on some of the key social issues facing society.
3) In what capacity do you think you could contribute to society/the Fellowship?
I bring my relentless passion and energy for positive social change, innovation and entrepreneurship. I hope that Fellows share our vision for high-impact volunteering and back our next ambitious task: unifying the skilled volunteering space so that all opportunities and talent can find their perfect match.
4) What would you change in society given the chance?
There are over 90 organisations performing a skilled volunteer match task. Most are doing this without technology. I believe the currency of sharing skills is trust. All these organisations have worked very hard to build trusted communities. My team and I have worked hard to attract and serve the 900 + professionals in GWYGA's talent pool. We recognise that we are stronger together, collaboration will enable us all to pool our talent, matching organisations quicker, faster and cheaper.
I am working toward a future where all skilled volunteering opportunities and talent are in one place; accessible from any trusted entry point. This will significantly improve the experience for professionals and non-profits. I would like to see an acceleration of our efforts to create a big data framework for skilled volunteering and make pro bono matches that inspire people to return and tell them friends.
5) What recent bit of news have you heard which inspires you?
GWYGA was extremely pleased to have been made an award by Nesta's Innovation in Giving Fund as well as supporting the creation of the framework, it was great that Nesta recognises that GWYGA is onto something that touch millions of lives. It's always reassuring to hear that other people believe in what we are trying to do.
6) What did you learn last week?
I learnt that failure should always be seen as progress, because you tried. My niece performed in a play and unceremoniously, fell off the stage half-way through. She laughed it off and dusted herself down. Her resilience reminded me that failure only happens when you don't pick yourself up, and that laughing at oneself is absolutely essential!
7) Tell us about another interesting Fellow you have spoken to.
There are of course many interesting people right across the Fellowship. I'm working quite closely with Marcus Jamieson-Pond, the Founder of the Convergence network of Corporate Responsibility people and manages to be the Head of Rothschild's Community Programme as well. He's helping me to develop the thinking that we need to take GWYGA to the next stage.
8) What would you like to connect with Fellows about? Please tell us if there is anything you would like from other Fellows
GWYGA is only as strong as the links that it creates between charities and the people that volunteer their time to help them. Unifying the skilled volunteer space is a huge task; we need help to break down barriers and open up honest dialogues.
Our charities are looking for people with professional skills - we calculate that each match from a volunteer has a value of around £11,000 to the charity that they are helping - and the RSA is full of people who can really make a difference. Simply put, I would like every RSA Fellow to become part of my mission and be a champion for GWYGA.