UPLIFTING JOURNEYS

We take you to places that provide authentic, living case studies so you return home inspired and equipped to give more thoughtfully to any case.

UJ in 90 seconds

Uplifting Journeys is an immersive donor education program to learn the principles of thoughtful and effective giving.

After experiencing our lively workshops, informative site visits, and emotionally engaging internships with local non-profits, participants return home empowered and equipped to contribute more effectively toward any cause, anywhere.

“Because you are exploring a new world and a new culture, Uplifting Journeys offers unique personal learning experiences which can be translated into action.”

Uplifting Journeys
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we connect you

with local non-profits, social entrepreneurs, and community leaders for a deeply personal experience.

We equip you

• to choose a cause where you can make a difference

• to measure social impact

• to select which non-profits to support and how best to engage with them

we empower you

to research issues, select non-profits to support, measure social impact, and talk to your children about effective giving.

A Sample Itinerary

(from a previous boot camp in Colombia)

Days 1-3:
Experience & Evaluate

Each day is a mix of workshops and site visits.

  • A day at the Escuela de Artes y Oficios Santo Domingo, where exquisite craftsmanship is taught in a colonial palace.
  • A day at Bogota’s social enterprise Impact Hub to discuss social enterprise and participate in a pitch competition.
  • A day in Ciudad Bolivar, a low-income neighborhood, to meet the remarkable community building organization Tiempo de Juego.
  • Encounters with Batuta and Conectando Sonrisas, which use music and magic to train at-risk youth, former child soldiers, and gang members.
  • Key “good giving” practices were discussed with local experts, including representatives from Colombia’s leading foundations and NGOs, management consultants, academics, and government officials. The site visits put the lessons learned in context.

Days 4-5:
The Internships

Participants spent two interning at local charities based on their personal interests. Each morning, they were taken on site with an interpreter to spend the day participating in programs, meeting with senior staff, and observing firsthand the management challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. There are plenty of social issues on my own doorstep. Why can’t I take your course in my hometown?

Uplifting Journeys takes you to places that will inspire you with new ideas you can bring home. By immersing yourself in our educational programs, away from your comfort zone, you will engage at a deeper level and live a far more transformative experience than a seminar or weekend course in your hometown.

2. I don’t give internationally; why should I take your course?

The workshops you will attend, the case studies you will examine, the internships in which you will participate are all designed to teach you the principles of “good giving” regardless of where you base your philanthropy. You will return home inspired and equipped to give effectively to any cause in any location of your choosing.

3. I already give a lot to charity. Why should I take your course?

At some point in their lives, most donors find themselves questioning whether the programs they support are really having an impact – or whether the organizations they fund are really achieving results.  Uplifting Journeys empowers you with the skills you need to give effectively to any cause of your choosing.

4. Why should I spend my money on this trip rather than give it to charity?

Education is an investment. Thoughtful and strategic giving is a serious matter. Yet most people spend more time researching restaurants or vacations than the organizations to which they write checks. The money you spend will be multiplied many times when you become a more effective donor.

5. Am I expected to make a donation to the organizations I will visit? Will Uplifting Journeys make a donation?

No, you are not expected to make a donation.  Uplifting Journeys is not a form of “donor travel.”  However, participants often decide to forge a relationship with the organizations they visit or intern with.  They share their expertise, contacts and network – and sometimes choose to make a financial gift independently of Uplifting Journeys.

Uplifting Journeys pays the organizations for their time, the use of their venues, meals served, etc. However, we maintain a policy of strict neutrality and not distribute donations.

6. What is a typical day like?

Days 1-3 are a mix of workshops and site visits.  The workshops include engaging group activities, lively debates, and presentations by local experts chosen for their speaking ability.  The field trips/site visits are to local non-profits, selected as examples of best practice.

Days 4 and 5 are for the internships.  Participants spend both days on site organizations carefully vetted to provide an engaging experience.  The first day and a half are spent participating in activities.  The last half day is spent meeting with senior staff to discuss the challenges faced by the organization.

During the entire course, participants meet each morning for a short “debrief” to share thoughts and opinions.  There is “down-time” in the late afternoon for rest and personal activities.

7. How can a two-day internship make a difference to the organization?

Two days deeply immersed in a local non-profit can make a huge difference TO YOU.  Organizations are chosen according to your personal interests.  Participants are accompanied by interpreters if necessary.  For the first day and a half, you will spend time engaging in the activities of the organization.  This is a time to engage emotionally and use your heart as well as your head.  On the afternoon of the second day, you will sit down with senior management to discuss the challenges facing the organization.

We do not presume to be “doing good” and are careful not to make empty promises to the organizations that welcome our participants. Uplifting Journeys is not a form of voluntourism nor a “service learning” experience.  However, we find that often the senior management finds their dialogue with our participants very productive.

8. Will I be learning about the causes that interest me?

During the first three days, we select local non-profits to illustrate the lessons we teach, irrespective of the sector in which they operate. Depending on the location in which we are running the course, we may pick a particular issue area to illustrate the topic “where should I intervene to make the most difference.”

However, on Days 4 and 5, we carefully match you with a local non-profit for your internship in an issue area of specific interest to you.

9. Do you include tourism or cultural activities?

We encourage participants to explore the country before or after the course. However, we always incorporate local culture and traditions in our choice or venues, restaurants and field trips.