About us

Young people are behind some of the world’s most disruptive and inclusive social innovations and movements. They are creating much-needed in their communities. But: They struggle! They are often sacrificing their personal finances and well-being to dedicate their lives to impact and need support on many dimensions.

The system often works against them! 

We believe it’s time to improve the conditions for ‘change-making’ and to tackle this challenge at the ecosystemic level! We can only do that collaboratively. Which is why in 2021 a group of global youth social innovation networks came together to create The Possibilists Alliance.

What we do

Scientific Studies

Together we run bi-annual scientific studies to explore the impact, challenges and needs of young changemakers.
These reports are a trusted open source of information for governments, foundations, civil society and anyone willing to support young social innovators.

Collective Action

Together we launch collective action projects targeted at improving the ecosystem for young changemakers.
The first of these, with many more to follow, is The Possibilists Directory, a repository of support offers for changemakers.

Global Ecosystem

Rooted in a common belief in the power and potential of young people to change the world we are a growing global network of youth social innovation focused organisations.
We come together regularly, on and offline, to connect, to learn from each other and to share ideas and resources.


In order to improve the lives of changemakers, strengthen their ventures and further develop the change-making ecosystem, we urge the following:

1. Focus on the person, not just the initiative.

Young social innovators want to be seen, heard and valued as individuals. As a global support network, we must acknowledge that young social innovators can only create impact for their communities if they are thriving as individuals. Therefore the components of support programs for youth social entrepreneurship need to be adjusted to not only incorporate ways of strengthening initiatives, but to also acknowledge and provide personal-level support. The focus of our work should be fostering a life-long changemaking mindset that is not bound to the success of a specific organization or venture.

2. Ensure the personal financial stability of young social innovators.

Ensuring the personal financial security of young social innovators is critical. They currently face high levels of demand and low levels of financial security.
Support programs must take this into account and work to counteract this. In addition to offering concrete funding opportunities, we must work to change our perceptions and actions regarding financial access for youth working on social change initiatives. Young changemakers are doing important, hard work and deserve financial compensation. Organizations who engage young social innovators as speakers or promote their work, even be it micro-engagements, should ensure they are fairly compensated for their time.

3. Prevent burnout of young social innovators.

Young social innovators are experiencing high levels of burnout. They are under immense and continuous pressure to perform, while also feeling an overarching sense of duty and responsibility. We need to reflect on what this means for their long-term health and well-being.
As a sector, we must acknowledge this and take sweeping action to remedy it. In addition to offering well-being support, we must consider how our support programs might be placing additional or unnecessary pressure and/or demands on young social innovators. Acknowledging multiple simultaneous or similar demands might be a first step towards better coordination between support programs, organizations, and networks.

4. Support the initiatives of young social innovators to grow, improve their quality, and be financially stable.

Young social innovators emphasized their need for more support in developing quality products and services, scaling, and the need for more financial stability within their organization. To meet these needs, we should offer regular trainings and interdisciplinary learning opportunities that allow young social innovators to deepen the understanding of their work and learn from other state of-the-art solutions addressing similar challenges. We can help them scale by connecting them to like-minded peers and initiatives that complement their work, while also strengthening their global and local networks through mindful strategic partnerships. We should rethink funding processes in order to lower the barriers of access, particularly for mid-stage organizations who find themselves struggling to attract institutional funders, and develop more useful frameworks for assessing the financial health of initiatives.

5. Build upon the strong local – international connection of young social innovators.

The participants in The Possibilists study act as bridges between macro global issues and the way these manifest locally in communities of different sizes and types around the world. They can effectively communicate local challenges internationally, while at the same time translating global matters into concrete local action. In order to make progress on reaching ambitious goals such as the SDGs, we need to better leverage the embeddedness of young social innovators in both their global and local worlds. In addition to creating international formats for networking and connection, we must also create spaces where local-specific challenges can be discussed. As a global community, we need to honor the importance of the local in driving deep and sustainable social change.

6. Leverage the strong motivation of young social innovators to make a difference.

Even in the face of crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, we see young social innovators around the world stepping up with constructive solutions for new challenges. Their resilience, innovation and adaptability are vital resources for their communities and for building healthy societies in the future. The strong intrinsic motivation of the Possibilists make them incredible peers and inspirational role models for other young people. We must appreciate and acknowledge this widely so that they become multipliers and continue empowering other youth to become change agents in their own communities.

7. Reduce barriers in our own programming and support diverse young social innovators.

Systemic inequalities are one of the main barriers for social innovators and their work. We need to put an explicit focus on reducing these barriers in order to achieve real diversity, inclusion and belonging. It starts by looking at our own programming and considering what requirements or formulations might exclude certain people from feeling addressed or welcome. Once we have looked within and worked to deconstruct our own organizational biases, we can begin to look outward. In order to overcome exclusion, we must actively seek out those who are often underrepresented. This means doing outreach in marginalized communities and remote areas. Even if this requires greater organizational efforts in terms of funding and time, ensuring equitable and diverse representation among young changemakers is essential for developing effective solutions for all.

8. Connect young social innovators with relevant decision-makers.

The future-oriented ideas and perspectives of young social innovators should be at the core of devising longterm strategies and influencing leadership at multiple levels. The wish of youth to have their voices be heard, play a role, and achieve social change should be fostered and amplified. As a community, we need to facilitate access to decision-makers and grant young social innovators access to places of power and influence. We need to keep working to amplify the voices and credibility of young social innovators as key stakeholders and contributors.

Recommenda­tions from the Possibilists themselves.

Our team

Portrait Matthias Scheffelmeier Changemakerxchange.org
Matthias Scheffelmeier

Matthias Scheffelmeier is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of ChangemakerXchange and is currently the lead for The Possibilists. He also was, until recently a Member of Ashoka Europe’s regional leadership team. Beyond that he’s a Founding Board Member of the Social Entrepreneurship Netzwerk Deutschland (SEND) and a Member of the global board at MasterPeace.

Portrait Miriam Sweeney Changemakerxchange.org
Miriam Sweeney

Miriam is working on programmes and projects at ChangemakerXchange, including The Possibilists, working across a majority of our activities, connecting the dots and finding synergies. She has spent the past 3 years at a startup accelerator & hub in Ireland where she working as a community lead, managing mentoring & incubator programmes, as an impact lead working on ecosystem growth, economic development & diversity & inclusion.

Nick McGirl

Nick is the Co-founder and Co-Managing Director of ChangemakerXchange, and led on all things The Possibilists 2021 Report. His background straddles multiple countries and has been at the intersection of social innovation and education. Including re-launching Ashoka in Turkey, launching Ashoka Europe’s education initiative and working on one of the world’s first social impact bonds programmes with young offenders in London for Catch 22.

Portrait Nadya Saib Changemakerxchange.org
Nadya Saib

Nadya is responsible for all things communications at The Possibilists. She’s a seasoned marketing and communication expert and a changemaker in her own right as the founder of Wangsa Jelita, a social enterprise in Indonesia and a core team consultant with ChangemakerXchange

Our partners

Kindly supported by:
SAP_The Possibilists Logo SAP
google@3x Google.org


Sign up to the ChangemakerXchange Newsletter:
We would love to keep in touch and occasionally share news with you from ChangemakerXchange, The Possibilists and the world of youth driven social and environmental change.