About Somondo

What is Somondo?

Somondo is a website that connects visitors and non-profit organizations. We make it easier for civil society organizations to inform the public about visiting opportunities where people can exchange with the organizations in-person and learn about their projects. In addition to increasing awareness and publicity about the organizations' work, these events can raise funds. On Somondo, users explore, find and arrange such visits easily.

 

How does Somondo work?

adding visits
1. List & Promote

Non-profit organizations add their profile and visiting opportunities to Somondo

discovering
2. Explore & Discover

With the help of Somondo's filtering features, users easily search and find these visits

arranging
3. Connect & Arrange

Through the channels listed on the organizations' profile, users connect with the organizations and arrange their visits

exchanging
4. Learn & Exchange

Organizations open their doors and host the visitors

sharing
5. Share & Discuss

Afterwards, visitors can share their experiences with the Somondo community and begin planning another visit!

Learn more about our platform here!

 

Why Somondo?

We strongly believe in the potential of connecting visitors to non-profit organizations. In our opinion, everyone involved can benefit from these visits.

Visitors

direct exchange and insight

Direct Exchange and Insight

Experience and learn about the organizations' on-the-ground efforts to solve social, economic and environmental challenges.

something different

Something Very Different

Get to know a different side of the place that you are living in or visiting.

support

Support

Directly support the organizations' projects through your visitor/tour/event fees as well as by spreading the word about their work.

Non-Profit Organizations

direct information

Direct Information and Exchange

Inform people about your work, in a more interactive and direct way than through reports, leaflets, and newsletters. Gain feedback on your work from interested visitors.

publicity and awareness

Publicity and Awareness

Increase visibility and publicity of your organizations' work and raise awareness for your cause. Both with on-site visitors as well as the entire Somondo community.

additional funding

Additional Resources

Create an additional, unrestricted revenue stream (through visitor fees) for your programs, and increase traditional funding (donations) by expanding your donor base.

That's why we are creating Somondo: A central place, specifically designed for compiling and showcasing such visiting opportunities, making them easier to find. A place developed by people with a background in non-profit work in collaboration with other actors from the sector. A place that – rather than recreating stereotypes of helplessness and dependency – creates learning opportunities, true exchange on equal footing, and lasting connections. A place that is fun to use. And a place that benefits everyone involved.

 

Our vision and mission

Vision

A world where in-person visits allow people to learn more about the work and contributions made by non-profit organizations; where interactions between the visitors, the organizations and their beneficiaries are based on respect , learning and exchange; and where these events support the organizations and the communities they serve.

Mission

Our mission is to facilitate exchange between visitors and non-profit organizations, through a platform that

  • increases visibility for non-profit organizations worldwide and enables them to inform people about their work and opportunities to visit them
  • helps future visitors to find this information and arrange these visits easily
  • allows users to share stories and recommend organizations that they have visited
  • creates a resource of best practices and discussion about how we can responsibly harness the potential of visits to non-profits organizations

 

The team

Malte Hoepfner

Malte oversees our strategic development and day-to-day operations. Malte founded Somondo because he is fascinated by the positive change created by bringing visitors and non-profit organizations together. read more

Many ideas for our platform are inspired by his experience as co-founder of Bloom Microventures, a non-profit social enterprise that combines microfinance and responsible travel. Organising and leading visits to their project site in rural Vietnam for two years, Malte and his colleagues saw how events like these can provide opportunities for learning, exchange, and awareness-raising. But they also realized how difficult it was for small organizations to be found by interested prospective visitors. With this in mind, upon returning to Germany, Malte started planning Somondo.

When not working on Somondo, Malte is active as a social business consultant, notably for a social enterprise working with smallholder farmers in Brazil. Previously, he worked for GIZ (the German Agency for International Cooperation) in Tanzania and the environmental NGO BUND (Friends of the Earth) in Germany. He holds an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), received his BA in International Relations from the University of Dresden (Germany) and studied development economics at the University of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).

Jessica Kraus

Jessica primarily provides input on content and strategy for Somondo. She believes that visits listed on Somondo can promote dialogue, good will and understanding across sector, geographic and cultural boundaries while raising visibility of the contribution that civil society organizations provide to communities. read more

Jessica brings a global perspective of the non-profit sector to Somondo. Born and raised in the USA, she has recently joined the team in Berlin, where she works as a research analyst for a development consultancy firm. Since a young age, Jessica has supported non-profit organizations across ten countries with their fundraising, research and communications needs. As a Princeton in Asia fellow, she worked for Population Services International (PSI) in Vietnam. Previous affiliations include the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, and World Health Organization. Jessica earned a BA in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University (USA). She is currently pursuing an Executive Master of Public Policy at Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance (Germany).

Leander Damme

Leander takes care of all activities related to web development from coding to configuring services and choosing database solutions that fit Somondo's and our users' needs. Leander is dedicated to the Somondo project because here he can combine his passion of web development with creating social good. read more

Leander is a co-founder of Wesrc, a team of developers who work on projects that use the internet to provide solutions to real world problems. For more than ten years, Leander has been working as a web developer, especially on projects with social impact. Most recently as a developer for EasyBib, a leading citation website. He studied Computer Science at the University of Dresden (Germany).

Michaela Platz

Michaela assists the team with its many product development needs. She believes that visits to non-profit organizations will broaden the horizons of both visitors and organizations, and empower them by fostering new skills and ideas. read more

Because of her impressive academic and professional background in business, Michaela adds another layer of diversity to the Somondo team. She has experience conducting and advising several social entrepreneurial projects with Enactus, an international non-profit. Michaela is currently pursuing a dual Master of Management in Mannheim (Germany) and Master of International Business in Kingston (Canada). She holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of Mannheim and has studied at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH).

We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to the many friends, colleagues and professionals from various sectors who have contributed to Somondo's development. We are grateful for their encouragement and input on the concept, platform development, and, most notably, on how the potential of visits to non-profit organizations can be reached. Somondo would simply not exist without all of their support. Thank you!

 

Timeline

A brief history

We are part of the Social Impact Start programWe have been developing the concept behind Somondo since mid-2012. During this time, we have studied and researched numerous approaches to non-profit visits, read countless articles, blog-posts and comments, and discussed ideas with dozens of experts from the non-profit sector. In late 2012, the Somondo project was selected into a program for social entrepreneurs ("Social Impact Start") funded by the German government and SAP. The program, while not supporting us financially, has provided us with free access to co-working space, coaching and mentorship for most of 2013.

In March 2013, after finalizing the conceptual framework, we started coding the platform and turning our ideas into reality. Developing such a platform takes time, especially with limited financial resources and most of working as volunteers. In December 2014, we launched a stable beta version of Somondo. It allows users to find their favorite organizations, arrange their visits and stay in contact.

 

Interested?

Be part of this!

If your NGO is interested in listing its visiting opportunities on Somondo, please use the link below. Joining Somondo is free.

Stay informed!

Join our mailing list to find out about interesting NGO visiting opportunities and news from Somondo.

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