Today’s job market can be a scary playing field for recent graduates to navigate.

With employers wanting more experience straight out of school, and the availability of jobs being limited, it’s easy for students to feel anxious as they cross the stage from student life to adulthood, with no viable job opportunities waiting for them on the other side. However, Give and Score, a social entrepreneurship that pairs recent grads with non-profits for work, is looking to change that.

Realizing the dichotomy in young adults’ expectations following college, and the reality, one Los Angeles based photographer — Adi Benner — came up with the platform to help provide young adults with professional experience that would make them more competitive prospects for future employers.

What is Give and Score?

Following a happen chance meeting in France, which can only be described as fate, Benner met his business partner Hannes. While traveling with their families, the two initially hit off after exchanging baby wipes and a disposable diaper bag, but eventually got on the topic of Hannes’ international non-profit, for which he struggles to find qualified volunteers.

Remembering all of the run-ins with college graduates he’s had at his photography business, Benner and Hannes realized their was an opportunity for a bit of give and take — or in their case, Give and Score, the pair’s program which pairs qualified recent graduates with needy non-profits that need volunteers to take on short-term professional projects.

“We realized that there was an ideal connection between these two groups, and that having them help each other would be a practical and impactful solution to the problems of both,” Benner said. “The solution was a platform called Give and Score. College students and recent graduates gain the experience and proof of their abilities (scores) needed to get hired, and non-profits get important projects done that are necessary to further their work. Everybody wins and lots of good is done in the process.”

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What’s In It For Me?

One of the most blaring occurrences Benner noticed when interviewing recent grads for jobs at his own photography business, was that many of them had what it took, but lacked the professional experience that proved their capabilities.

At the core of Give and Score’s business model, is the opportunity for students to gain that experience in the specific areas they’d like to go on to work in. Not only do young adults get the chance to prove their skill set in a real world setting, but they receive “in-depth, honest feedback and performance ratings from the non-profit at the end of each project.”

Millennial magazine - Give and Score

“All these grads needed was some real, hands on experience in a professional environment and they’d be ready to take on the world,” Benner said. “Employers receive hundreds of resumes every time they post a new job. Our scores are a great way for volunteers to stand out in the stack of hundreds, as it gives them quantitative and qualitative proof of their successes. In an age of resumes that all look alike, Give and Score scores give employers a way to gauge the performance and likelihood of success of their future employees.”

How It Works

When non-profits have work that needs to be done, they pay a fee ranging from $20 to $80 depending on the size of their project. They’re then able to create a project post that gets placed in Give and Score’s online database.

After completing a comprehensive professional profile — including resumes, work samples, and test scores from brief subject tests, which prove they’ve studied in the areas they want to volunteer — students, are able to apply for projects similarly to how they would apply for jobs.

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Although the organization is still in the early stages, as it only launched its complete roll out about two months ago, Benner sees give&score as a necessary platform for young grads — more so than he and Hannes initially thought. With the unemployment rate for college graduates continuing to grow and the percentage of millennials who are underemployed — working jobs that don’t require a degree — at nearly half, the partners are confident that their business will continue to grow.

“These numbers are much higher than they’ve been historically and too many talented, qualified millennials are struggling to get good jobs,” Benner added. “We run into many of these graduates every day and are so glad to see this project making a direct impact in their lives.”

Despite being a new organization, Give and Score is already working with 150 students and recent grads. In addition to allowing students to complete multiple projects at once, which is great for “filling their portfolios with real project outcomes that non-profits are actively benefitting from,” the platform also offers the added benefit of being able to complete all projects virtually.

“Because projects are completed online, nonprofits gain the ability to work with skilled volunteers from across the country,” Benner said. “And, volunteers get the opportunity to spread the impact by working with multiple organizations and putting their talents to use toward a diverse range of issues.”

Give and Score currently connects its volunteers with a variety of non-profits across the country that focus on everything from social justice issues, homelessness, environmental justice, animal rights, art and cultural awareness, at risk youth and more.

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