Dream Volunteers

Fall-Winter 2018
Project Type
Full team
Project Focus
Market Analysis,
Strategic Planning
Organization Type
Children, Youth & Families,


Founded in 2007, Dream Volunteers empowers young people to become the next generation of change agents around the world. The three primary programs are academic scholarships to promising youth in parts of the world where school is a privilege not a right, service and leadership development in Bay Area high schools, and immersive international service trips for US student groups. Dream Volunteers currently operates in the United States, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ghana, India, and Vietnam.


Dream Volunteers is an incredibly lean organization trying to do too much. While each of the three primary programs support each other, they all demand the time and focus of a limited staff. The organization needs a clear strategy that concentrates its resources and attention and leads to a clearly articulated and executable vision. Dream Volunteers believes it may be possible to make the domestic school programs more self-sufficient and/or to adjust pricing for its service trips to provide a more significant earned income stream and/or to partner with other organizations to leverage staff time.

Project Objectives

Dream Volunteers asked the ACT team to provide strategic planning recommendations that will support Dream Volunteers’ mission of equipping young people to transform their communities, focus on programs with the highest impact, and assist the organization in developing scalable operations.

Project Overview

Project Overview: The ACT team conducted research that included:

  • Interviews and surveys of key constituents, including staff, board members, past trip participants, and international youth and program managers.
  • Analysis of Dream Volunteer’s programs, financials, and enrollment data
  • Competitive research and analysis

Based on the findings and analysis, the ACT team made recommendations related to programs and pricing; branding, nomenclature, and positioning; and strategies for sustainable growth. The team also proposed a new tagline and new vision and mission statements, developed a financial model for scenario analysis, and provided a Now-Next-Later roadmap.

Key Recommendations

The ACT team made specific strategic and tactical recommendations that focused on the following areas:

  • Focus on the Core by investing in sustainable growth for service trips and student scholarships, and discontinuing programs that are off-strategy. Build Sustainable Scale through a consistent pricing strategy, trip enhancements, and school partnerships.
  • Strengthen the Brand with consistent nomenclature and identity across touchpoints, and further investment in web and social media.
  • Expand on Success through focused efforts to build participation for low-participant trips, and critical analysis of growth opportunities.

Of particular interest to the client, the ACT team guided Dream Volunteers in officially finalizing the organization’s name – from Young Dreamer Network (or some new TBD name) to Dream Volunteers.

Key Conclusions

In addition to strategic and tactical recommendations, the ACT team key concluded:

  • Dream Volunteers has a charismatic and committed Executive Director who has been spread too thin. Recent staff additions, discontinuing the US chapter program, formalizing processes, and making use of technology will enable him to focus is time more strategically.
  • Service trips are key to Dream Volunteers’ success. Fundraising is directly linked to trip participation, and the international scholarship recipients expand their goals and world view through their relationships with the trip participants.
  • Confusion over the organization’s name and multiple program names were diluting Dream Volunteers’ brand.
  • There are multiple incremental opportunities for Dream Volunteers to increase income and margins.

Final Report Outline

  • Research & Analysis
  • Program Recommendations
  • Brand Recommendations
  • Financial Evaluation & Sensitivity Analysis
  • Strategy for Growth
  • Roadmap