World of Difference

What I’ve valued the most from Vodafone Foundation is becoming a part of the whanau that they have created. We are a family and by working together we can change things for the better for our young people in New Zealand.

Marcus Powell, CEO of Crescendo Trust of Aotearoa

What’s it all about?

The World of Difference Programme launched in November 2002. This funding enables talented individuals to make a difference to vulnerable young people in New Zealand. Each year, six individuals receive funding of $100,000 to go towards salary, expenses and project costs as agreed by them and their chosen charity

To ensure the projects continue for the long-term, we go further than funding. Our engagement lead is active in her relationships with our partners, so they are always supported by Vodafone NZ Foundation. Each recipient is also matched with a Vodafone business mentor who helps them develop their skills and abilities so their vision can become a reality.

Who are we looking for?

Our World of Difference recipients are more than just extraordinary individuals; they should have a project plan that can make a real difference to vulnerable young people and be aligned with a community organisation that can enable them bring their project to life.

Passionate people that share our goal of making a difference for New Zealand youth and have the leadership skills to help them move in a positive new direction.

Ambitious, innovative projects must have clearly intended goals that enable vulnerable young people to live lives they value and build the capacity of the organisation. A long-term focus and the potential to expand is essential. Ideally projects should take advantage of Vodafone’s expertise, capabilities and resources.

The host organisation should embrace the principles of the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa, including using a strengths-based approach to encourage young people to increase their positive connections within their community, family, school, peers and networks. The organisation must be committed to continuous learning.

What we fund

Projects may include mentoring, educational opportunities, connection to identity, etc., but they must be strengths-based and adhere to a positive youth development approach as set out in youth development strategy Aotearoa.

World of Difference 2017 application criteria

You must meet all of the following requirements:

  • You must be 18 years old or over and a New Zealand citizen or resident
  • Your organisation must be a New Zealand charity and should embrace the principles of the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa
  • You must have obtained the approval and support of the CEO (or if one does not exist, the Chair) of the organisation before applying
  • Outcomes must relate to supporting vulnerable young people to live lives they value
  • The cause must be youth-focussed (defined as individuals between 12 to 24 years of age)
  • The project must focus on capacity building
  • Your project should have young people involved in the process and show evidence that this is something young people value
  • Your project will begin between the 1st of January and the 31st of March 2017 and you are able to commit to working full-time for 12 months

What we don’t fund

We have clear priorities linked to who we can fund through the World of Difference Programme. We will not fund the following:

  • PhD or Masters
  • Projects focused on those who are not youth 12-24
  • Project received from organisations

What you need for your application

  • Proof of charitable status via Charities Commission number or Incorporated Societies certificate
  • Your CV
  • Four referees, who may be contactable by phone or email. Two should be funders of the organisation and two should be young people that you or the organisation have worked with
  • Job description (only needed at step three)

Our process

World of Difference applications that meet our criteria progress to a committee made up of past applicants, sector leaders and staff, who will make further decisions. After this stage selected applicants will be interviewed by phone.

The final group of World of Difference applicants will be visited by a group of individuals at the organisation in which they are working.

Chosen World of Difference recipients attend an introductory hui and will be announced at a celebratory event. Throughout their funded year, they attend another hui, and are invited back to hui each year to connect and share with the other alumni.

Due to a high number of applications, we are unable to speak to everyone individually. All unsuccessful applicants will be informed over email, except for those who have been interviewed by phone or in person, who will receive a phone call with specific feedback about their application.

Time line:

  • Applications open | 11 July 2016
  • Applications close | 8 August 2016, 5pm
  • Phone interviews | 21 & 22 September
  • Project visits | w/c 17 October
  • Introduction hui | 23 & 24 November
  • Announcement event | 24 November, in Auckland

Step One:

Read the criteria above, the FAQs, Terms and Conditions to ensure you are eligible, make sure you are available for all key dates and have time to commit to the process.

Download and complete the application form available here then email your complete application to by 5pm, 8 August 2016. Please note that when you apply you will not receive an automated email that is specific to this application. However, we will be updating our systems in future.

All applicants will be emailed the outcome within 8 weeks of application.

Step Two:

Successful applicants must be available on 21 or 22 September for a phone call, which will be scheduled. Successful individuals will progress further. We will let applicants know the outcome by the end of that week. References may also be called around this time.

Step Three:

Successful applicants will send to us a full Job Description of the work they will be carrying out during their year if successful. They will be visited by members of our board and staff where applicants will have a chance to share more about their projects and answer various questions about the work.

All applicants will be informed of the outcome by the beginning of the following week.

Police checks will be undertaken and contracts signed.

The successful World of Difference applicants will attend a two-day introductory hui, 23 and 24 November and will be announced at an event 24 November in Auckland.


As we are a small team, we will not be able to meet with anyone to discuss applications. Please read all the information provided thoroughly, the FAQs, Terms and Conditions as above, and email if you have any additional questions.

Apply now

Before you apply, read the criteria above, the FAQs and the Terms and Conditions to ensure you are eligible, make sure you are available for all key dates and have time to commit to the process.

Download and fill out the application form here and email by 5pm, 8 August 2016.

Get with the programme

If you’d like updates or more information on the World of Difference programme email us your details so you can be added to our mailing list or check out the Vodafone NZ Foundation Facebook page.

Celebrating 10 years of World of Difference – Evaluation

In 2012, to mark the 10 year anniversary of the World of Difference Programme, the Vodafone Foundation commissioned Point Research to evaluate the programme to better understand the difference this programme is making and to capture some of the rich stories of past recipients.

World of Difference recipients 2016

These amazing people have been selected to participate in the World of Difference programme in 2016. Find out how they’re making a difference to Kiwi youth.

View the World of Difference archive