Topics: Non-profit organization, Charitable organization, CouchSurfing Pages: 6 (2156 words) Published: May 7, 2013
Couchsurfing International was founded to create memorable and life-changing experiences through cultural diversity, openness and respect. The ability to encounter and explore meaningful connections with the places and people, give couchsurfers a unique outlook on life. Also, the appreciation for other cultures builds tolerance and acceptance as well. Couchsurfing encourages people to encounter life through a variety of different experiences such as inspiring experiences, and magnetic experiences. Each of these experiences can be intertwined with one another but also can be experienced in its own right. A Magnetic Experience is an experience that electrically charges the members participating in the event. The positive experience draws an individual in like a magnet. These experiences are engaging, fun and easy, however, they don’t necessarily challenge an individual to get out of their comfort zone. These experiences help us to make friends through tolerance and acceptance. A Growth Experience happens when couchsurfers connect with people who are vastly different from themselves. These opportunities allow couchsurfers to learn about cultural diversity while overcoming their fears of conflict. Inspiring Experiences occur when both the fun of the Magnetic Experience and learning experiences of the Growth Experience happen simultaneously. Inspiring Experiences allow us to overcome both our inhibitions about exploring and our resistance to differences. Creating an experience that helps a couchsurfer appreciate diversity and value another person or culture is the Couchsurfing mission.

Guiding Principles. .. .

The Couchsurfing Project was conceived by Casey Fenton in 1999. According to Fenton’s account, the idea arose after finding an inexpensive flight from Boston to Iceland. Fenton randomly emailed 1,500 students from the University of Iceland and asked if he could stay. He received 50 offers for accommodations. On the return flight, he began to develop ideas that would start the Couchsurfing project. The project became a public website in January 2004. In June 2006, the project experienced numerous computer problems which resulted in the lost of much of the database. A Couchsurfing Collective in Montreal was underway at the same time and they fully committed to recreating the site. The re-launch happened with 4 days instead of 10. Since the relaunch, the project has received international media coverage. In August 2011, Couchsurfing announced that it would be becoming a for profit B-corporation with investment companies Benchmark and Omidayr Investments.

The Board structure of Couchsurfing is to provide guidance using their expertise and experience. The Board of Directors is made up of the four founding members consisting of their own specialties. However, as we all know, the Board of Directors does not actually run the non-profit. Their ideas guide the organization. The Board of Directors consist of Casey Fenton, founding Director, Daniel Hoffer, co-founder and CEO, Sebastian Le Tuan, co-founder and Leonardo Bassani da Silveira, co-founder. Casey Fenton originally came up with the idea of Couchsurfing and is known as the “Inspirer”. Fenton has a background in computer sciences and programming so he was in fact one of the first designers of the website. Daniel Hoffer stepped up to be Couchsurfing’s CEO in 2011. He first worked closely with co-founders Casey Fenton and Sebastian Letuan in 1999. Hoffer has worked in the online community for many years and now he is currently works as a management consultant. Sebastian Le Tuan was instrumental in the founding of Couchsurfing and his current role is to focus on the vision and mission. Le Tuan ensures that things stay on track and occasionally gets involved in design related projects. He currently works as a software project designer. Leondardo Bassani da Silveira is the final co-founder and Board of Director member. He has developed...
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