Strategic Volunteering: Helping Others and Improving Skills

Cassandra has been part of our team for over a year already, and time seems to fly when you are around her. She is the one responsible for SIVO’s complete newsletter makeover, which we send out every six months (Received the latest one? Subscribe for it via email to Here is a bit more about her and why she decided to join SIVO.

Who is Cassandra Montoya?

I was born in the United States and raised in Mexico, and in 2013 I moved to Switzerland to pursue my studies. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Administration, with a specialization in International Management and Economics, and am currently doing a Master’s in Health Sciences, majoring in Health Economics and Health Policy.

How did you hear about SIVO?

This happened back in 2016 when I was doing my bachelor at the HSLU. Evelin was my teacher and she presented SIVO to the class. Since then I knew I wanted to become part of something that was making an impact in the community. 

Why did you decide to become a strategic volunteer?

After two years, I finally decided to contact Evelin in order to get involved with SIVO. All I knew was that I wanted to help out whichever way I could, and so we spoke and she explained what strategic volunteering was about. I loved the concept and here I am.

What do you do at SIVO?

I am in charge of the newsletters, providing support on administrative tasks as well as taking care of our database. I also recently carried out a project, where I organise activities for the Discovery Semester for Refugees Programme in collaboration with the University of Lucerne.

What have you learnt so far?

Because I contribute to SIVO in my spare time, I have improved my time management skills tremendously. Not only am I becoming a more organized person, but I am also learning the meaning of intrinsic motivation. Additionally, by applying previously acquired project management knowledge, I have become better at dealing with different tasks and projects at the same time while remaining efficient and delivering on time. Not only that, but also the fact that I have the opportunity to work with wonderful and diverse women from all over the world has helped me boost my interpersonal skills, communications skills as well as my networking ability.

How can you apply this in a future job?

Nowadays, most companies demand their employees to work in a complex and dynamic environment, demanding them to stay on top of tasks and deadlines. That is why skills such as time management, project management and intercultural experience amongst others, are competences that can be easily transferred to any kind of prospective job.

Why shall anyone become a strategic volunteer?

For me it was vital to find a way to get back to the community while at the same time develop as an individual. By getting a first-hand experience as a strategic volunteer, I am developing as a professional. I am continuously learning from others and how to interact in an appropriate manner. This is contributing to the development of both my intra- and interpersonal factors, which will later on benefit me in the labor market. 

If you are passionate about helping others yet wish to gain or improve certain skills, then strategic volunteering is the thing for you. 

About SIVO’s Strategic Volunteering Programme 
In 2016, Swiss International Volunteer Organisation (SIVO) introduced the concept of strategic volunteering in Lucerne region, and it is rapidly spreading. Focused on quality, we run a yearly programme where we place international residents into strategic volunteering positions. If you are interested in participating either as an organisation or as an individual in need of advice on how to best set up your volunteering opportunity, contact us at


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