People are leading increasingly busy lives. Long commutes, balancing parenthood with career, the unpredictability of working hours, all take their toll on the opportunity for the public to commit to volunteering. On the other hand, through technology we are more connected than ever before.
Microvolunteering is about making use of the minutes we have, here and there, in our busy days to help charities and nonprofits. All volunteers need is a connection to the internet, by computer or mobile phone.
www.sparked.com is a microvolunteering site that is based in the US, but charities from anywhere in the world can post volunteering opportunities that volunteers from around the world can complete online. They can choose their charity passions (environment, justice, poverty etc) and what skills they have to offer. That done, the site pops up some projects that fit the selection.
Last week I had a go: A nonprofit/social enterprise, based in India, was selling honey but also asking for donations. They wanted comments on how they could improve their website. I had twenty minutes before the working day started, so I took a look around and added my comments to the many others.
It won’t replace the need that charities have for ‘on the ground’ volunteers. But it is another interesting addition to the portfolio of engagement – provided, of course, it is managed by charities in the right way.