• Are you crazy? Why would you want to be a volunteer? The story of a SIA volunteer Tansu will tell you why!

    Throughout the year, Social Impact Award engages with a lot of volunteers. But how does their journey look like? What do they gain through this experience? We asked one of our volunteers, Tansu Akinci, to share her thoughts on volunteering and her Social Impact Award journey.

    Are you crazy? Being a volunteer is nonsense! You are working but not earning anything?!


    On a good CV, volunteer experiences are really important!

    Two different sides of a medallion: Nowadays, as a motivated young person, studying is not enough. But not enough for what? To get a good job, to be enrolled in a prestigious master program? No, it is not that superficial, there is more. Let me take you to a short journey into my experiences as a SIA volunteer for about a year.

    Before joining the SIA family, I had no idea what social entrepreneurship and being an entrepreneur meant. I was considering myself as a risk-averse person who would never become a part of the risky and highly uncertain world of some hyper-motivated people who never sleep and try to build a solid business from scratch. No, that was too much… But again, a part of me was curious and wanted to explore this mysterious world and confront my stereotypes. After joining SIA and becoming a member of Impact Hub Vienna, doors to an incredible cool community were open, terms like co-working spaces, pitches, networking events, and many more gained meaning to me.

    To sum up my experiences and lessons-learned in SIA, four things should be emphasized:

    1. SIA offered me the entrance to a great community with highly motivated people, who want to change something for good. Critical people with a real vision behind their work, amazing ideas and projects that are concerned with the real-world problems, not just with the idea of making more and more money… Impossible is not a word here. I have not met a single pessimistic person, on the contrary, everyone inspired me to be a more conscious entrepreneur. I have learned a completely new concept of business: social business, which is the coolest thing I have ever heard.

    2. SIA-Team = a great team. From day 1, I was a part of a big international family, worked with other motivated students like myself and saw that there are many other young people who share similar opinions and want to become a part of the solution, not the problem.

    3. I have learned how to be more flexible. Sometimes you need to be there to present something, sometimes you need to decorate for an event, sometimes you need to think about reaching as many people as possible and increase the awareness of youth on important subjects, sometimes you need to do spamming activities on social media or just chill out while making some cool SIA buttons. No matter what you are doing, it is fun and you’re doing something meaningful, for yourself as well as for society!

    4. It is not just about being a passive part of the community and getting inspired by “other” cool projects. It is about actively doing something! After joining SIA I saw many doors opening or had the chance to open them. Through networking events, I made many valuable connections and great things happened such as internships, good contacts, greater knowledge and even a social start-up in which I am currently active as a social entrepreneur!

    So, SIA is what you make out of it. Being a volunteer requires two important skills: motivation and an open mind. The rest shapes from itself!

    Thank you SIA for everything! I’ll be around – once you are in, you can never get out!



    Photo credit: Alexander Gotter


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