Unpaid internships after college can feel like adding insult to injury, given how many new graduates have a mountain of debt to go with their shiny new diploma—but thanks to the initiative SponsorChange, now nonprofit volunteer workers can still begin paying back their student loans.
According to SponsorChange.org:
• College graduates are working two or more jobs to make ends meet, leaving little time to volunteer.
• Volunteer rates of college students decrease dramatically after graduation. As a result, non-profits and ultimately under-served communities lose out.
• Non-profit organizations have to do more with less funding. The impact of non-profits lies in its ability to recruit, manage, and retain volunteers.
To that end, SponsorChange found a solution that benefits both volunteers (also known as “change agents”) and the organizations they work for by bringing in a third party: donors.
According to their media kit, “SponsorChange.org is essentially a volunteer staffing agency that rewards service with student loan pay,” and it works by recruiting donors to “collectively sponsor service pledges to college graduates, which are used to make direct student loan payments.”
SponsorChange’s headquarters are in Washington D.C., with offices in Pittsburgh and Chicago, but it welcomes non-profits from all over the US. The organization is working on developing an online platform to streamline connections between college graduates with student loans, non-profits, and donors. As the site explains, “non-profits can post service projects, college graduates can select these service projects, or design their own, and donors can collectively sponsor their service through online service pledges. Individual donors are introduced to a new model of giving, one that puts them in the role of a ‘micro’ foundation, where small pledges together make a big difference. After a member completes a service project he/she receives their sponsors’ pledges through direct payments to their student loan account, eliminating any concerns of the use of donor pledges.”