Project Managers Against Poverty: Volunteering our skills to make a difference Project Managers Against Poverty: Volunteering our skills to make a difference


A project manager in action

Volunteer your skills as a professional project manager to help fight poverty and make a difference!

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Project Managers Against Poverty (PMAP) aims to assist like-minded project managers who passionately believe in volunteering their unique skills and experience to help reduce poverty in the UK and worldwide. We do this by:

- Promoting volunteering opportunities for project managers. Check the Volunteering section below or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to get the latest updates. Please email us at if your charity or NGO has any volunteering opportunities for project managers.

- Providing useful contacts, information and resources.

- Presenting a blog of blogs and articles about project and programme management in International Development and the Third Sector. Get involved and write an article for us or join the discussion by emailing

"Going out and volunteering sounds simple, but many people don't volunteer because they don't know where to start." Mark Foster


Become a Trustee or Board Member

Become a trustee or board member and make things happen

Being a trustee is a rewarding and enjoyable way to be involved in a charity or non-profit organisation. These organisations generally lack project management skills and greatly welcome practical advice on how to get things done and secure good outcomes.

A trustee is a member of the governing board of a charity. Trustees ensure their charity has a clear strategy, and that its work and goals are in line with its vision. Trustees' role in a charity is to be the ‘guardians of purpose’, making sure that all decisions put the needs of the beneficiaries first.

Trustees safeguard the charity’s assets – both physical assets, including property, and intangible ones, such as its reputation. They make sure these are used well and that the charity is run sustainably.

Trustees don’t usually do the day-to-day running of the charity. They delegate this to the staff, led by the CEO. Instead, they play the role of ‘critical friend’ to the CEO by giving support and by challenging – in a supportive way – to help them manage effectively. However, in smaller charities with few staff, trustees may take hands-on roles too.

For advice on how to become a charity trustee see this Guardian article.

Also, the NCVO publishes The Good Trustee Guide, which is "ideal as an introduction for new board members or as a refresher for long-serving trustees".

Take a look at these sites to find trustee opportunities in the UK - , Reach Volunteering and Small Charities Coalition.

A useful guide to the the Charity Sector in the UK is the NCVO UK Civil Society Almanac 2019. The UK Charity Commission Website contains a detailed entry for every UK Charity. Also, take a look around your neighbourhood for charities in your area which may have trustee vacancies.

Volunteer for an Association

Volunteering, many hands make light work

Here's a list of the main project management associations/institutes which welcome volunteers:

PM4NGOs is an international NGO and nonprofit organisation that promotes and sustains the professionalism of program and project management in the international development sector. It owns and develops the PMD Pro and Program DPro standards. There are many opportunities to volunteer for PM4NGOs listed here

The charitable objective of the Association for Project Management (APM) is advancing the science, theory and practice of project and programme management for the public benefit. It is the chartered body for the project profession and offer membership, qualifications and wide support to project professionals. It lists its volunteering opportunities here.

Through the International Project Management Association (IPMA) project management practitioners from all cultures and all parts of the world can network, share ideas, and move our practice and our stakeholders forward through effective collaboration and cooperation. The IPMA Coaching for Development ® (IPMA C4D) initiative provides project management knowledge and experience through project management coaching to non-profit organisations. See the section "Become a Mentor or Coach" below.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) "advances careers, improve organizational success and further mature the profession of project management through our globally recognized standards, certifications, resources, tools, academic research, publications, professional development courses and networking opportunities". It lists its volunteering opportunities here.

The Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF) has a goal "to forge partnerships with the nonprofit organizations that support and prepare youth for success by offering our project management expertise, resources, and volunteers to aid them in their missions". Contact them through their website.

Become a Mentor or Coach

Become a memtor or coach to share your skills and experience

Mentoring is a great opportunity for “giving-back” to the international project management community helping to fight poverty. It's also a great learning opportunity.

You can become a project management mentor through a new e-mentoring scheme which is being run through a new online platform from PM4NGOs called PMD Pro Plus. Click here to find out more details and to register for free.

The International Project Management Association (IPMA) helps non-profit organisations (NPOs) all over the world in their social development and humanitarian aid projects with the IPMA Coaching for Development ® (IPMA C4D) initiative. Research shows that only 36 % of the aid projects achieve their intended impact (despite the good will and enthusiasm of volunteers and project management teams). The main sources of difficulties in the projects are related to project management: planning, stakeholder management, managing change, procurement practices, project monitoring and evaluation. The IPMA vision is to promote competence throughout society to enable a world in which all projects succeed. With C4D, IPMA has put in place a well-designed concept of professional coaches to make social projects successful. Contact IPMA if you would like to join their coaching team.

There is considerable debate about the use of the terms ‘mentoring’ and ‘coaching’ - some people do not distinguish between coaching and mentoring. However, it is generally agreed that a mentor as a critical friend, or guide who is responsible for overseeing the career and development of another person outside the normal manager/subordinate relationship. A coach is someone who plans an intervention “designed to improve the performance of an individual in a specific task".

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