I’ve heard from a number of people recently who are at the beginning of their changemaker journey but stuck on how to actually get started. They are starting to adapt the mindset of a changemaker, and realize they can have an incredible impact of the communities around them. Yet they need a bit of a boost — both a likeminded community and some training — to get started.
Sound like you?
Fortunately, the changemaker clan is an incredibly strong and supportive one as long as you know where to look. And once you find your tribe of like-minded changemakers, their support and inspiration can make all the difference.
There are lots of fellowships out there, and I’m focusing here on a diverse selection of fellowships — US, non-US, millennial and baby boomer alike — all of which especially help people take their first changemaker step. Check them out, consider applying and then get ready to take your first big changemaker leap!
1. ProInspire Fellowship:
A fellowship for business professionals with 2-5 years of work experience. ProInspire selects leaders with great business acumen (often from the consulting or finance worlds) and connects them with year-long fellowships with leading non-profit, public and social enterprise organisations. In addition to salary funding and mission-driven work, ProInspire also builds a community of like-minded changemakers and provides mentoring to help fellows chart their new changemaking career.
2. Encore Fellowship
Changemaking is not just for millenials. More and more adults who have accomplished plenty in the “first act” of their career aren’t ready to retire: they are looking for ways to have impact in their “second act.” Encore Fellowships are high-impact, flexible, time-limited, paid assignments with nonprofits and public agencies where these changemakers can apply all of the knowledge skills and experience they gained during their primary career towards mission-driven organizations.
3. StartingBloc Fellowship
Through intensive five-day in-person institutes, StartingBloc brings together entrepreneurs, activists, educators, and innovators working to create change in diverse ways and diverse communities. The institute provides a strong community of support and inspiration in addition to skills training on changemaker skills from rapid prototyping to polarity mapping. Fellows join an international community of changemakers and can connect as alumni in regional hubs as well.
4. Atlas Corps Fellowship
Atlas Corps invests in and supports emerging leaders from around the world and equips them with both training and job placement in leading US non-profit organizations for 12-18 months. The fellows share learnings from their previous experiences with their US hosts, and gain insight and inspiration to bring back to their home country.
5. Hive Global Leaders Program
Hive is a global network of leaders, entrepreneurs, creatives, innovators, and philanthropists who are creating a better world and solving humanity's biggest challenges. Their three day in-person gatherings focus one day each on “The World,” “Your Life,” and “Your Work” with the goal of aligning all three towards a life of purpose and impact. They also offer special women’s retreats for female changemakers.
As Seth Godin reminds us in his brilliant book Tribes: “Human beings can’t help it: We need to belong. One of the most powerful of our survival mechanisms is to be part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people.”
Tribes are also one of the most powerful ways to accelerate change — both internally and externally.
So be proactive and go find the community and tools you need. After all, that’s what a changemaker would do!