Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘microvolunteering’

-Blog post by Reed Sandridge of Washington, DC

I woke up to terrible shooting pain in my neck.  It always happens when I fall asleep on flights.  Despite my weighty eyelids, I didn’t think I could go back to sleep.  With another two hours or so to go on my journey to Ireland I decided to fire up my laptop and knock out some volunteer work.

That’s right, you can even volunteer from the comfort (can you hear me laughing?) of your own chair as you glide through the air at 600 miles per hour.  I cracked open my laptop and connected to the Internet – for a “small” fee.  Before we all start bitching that we shouldn’t be paying these fees, let’s not forget how amazing that is in and of itself – to connect to the Internet as you speed around the Earth at an altitude of 36,000 feet.

Children in Cameroon. (Photo courtesy of Connected Youth of Cameroon)

Once connected I logged on to Sparked.com and started browsing volunteer opportunities.  I quickly found Connected Youth of Cameroon, an African based nonprofit whose mission it is to foster youth and women’s civic, social and intellectual development while promoting community engagement and development.  They posted the following on the micro-volunteer site:

Help us with ideas to attract people to our facebook page

We have created a facebook page and need to invite visitors and even have a fan club page. We need your ideas and suggestion.

So, I did about 15 minutes worth of research on their website and their facebook page and then started putting together some advice for them.  It’s that easy.  Check out my recommendations.

An airline passenger surfs the Internet from 36,000 feet. (photo courtesy http://www.usatoday.com)

I’m glad that I hopefully have been able to help this young nonprofit, however, I couldn’t stop thinking about a bigger, more systemic problem that we have.  We need to get every WiFi access carrier in the world to create a portfolio of websites that anyone can access free of charge.  Sparked.comwould be on that list for sure!  If we just take the airline industry, imagine how many people stuck on airplanes might be willing to spend 15 minutes online helping out their virtual community instead of watching some dumb B movie that they fell asleep watching on their last flight.

I’ve been told that the airlines and the WiFi access providers are not interested in enabling such a service for volunteer work.  Let me know what YOU think…can we make this happen?!

Read Full Post »

Blog post by Reed Sandridge of Washington, DC.

Don't be a litter bug

Plastic bags liter the banks of a river in Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia. Photo: CJETTE

Today’s post is a microblog post. I feel that’s only appropriate since today’s post is about a microvolunteering experience.  I logged on to Sparked.com and helped a UK nonprofit called Funky Junk Recycled.  In developing countries where plastic bags collect and choke drains and even animals, Funky Junk takes an innovative approach to turning this trash into beautiful, long-lasting items while providing fair trade income and training for local producers.

Here's a bag made from recycled plastic bags turned into yarn, or "plarn."

They needed help on how to recruit a British expat volunteer in Cambodia.  Click here to see my advice.  Oh, and while you’re there, why not try to do a project yourself.  I promise it doesn’t take long.

Read Full Post »

Blog post by Reed from Washington, DC

We’re without a Kindness Investor for a while it looks like.  As always, if you know someone who would like to take on this exciting seven-day adventure, drop me a note.

For the rest of you I’d like to share some tools that I use for volunteering.  So for the next couple of days I will do a blog post each day on a resource for finding volunteer opportunities.

Here's a cool video of Sparked Co-Founder and CEO Jacob Colker talking about Sparked and the impact it's making.

The first one is one that every single one of you can use!  Sparked (www.sparked.com) claims to be the world’s first microvolunteering network.  What’s microvolunteering you ask?  Well, the folks at Sparked define it as volunteering that meets four main criteria.

Convenient
It’s volunteerism that fits into your schedule when you have time – typically (but not necessarily) via an internet connected device such as a personal computer or mobile phone.

Bite-sized
Volunteer tasks are broken into small(-ish) pieces, so that you can complete a task in the time you have available (whatever that time may be).

Crowdsourced
The nonprofit that needs help asks a large(-ish) group for assistance.

Network-managed
The time demands of the manager (e.g. a nonprofit staffer) are reduced by distributing as much of the project management and quality review as possible to the network of micro-volunteers. This work management method differs from a top-down model of project management.

I’ve signed up for Sparked and have already completed my first project, which didn’t take me long at all.  You can read my blog post about using Sparked to help the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas.  What is brilliant about Sparked is that you can volunteer when you have time all from the convenience of your computer.  You can help nonprofits in dozens of areas, but here are a few to give you an idea: accounting, blogging, copywriting, data entry, marketing, research, social networking, translating, etc.

All this talk (ok, I’m writing not talking, but you get the idea) about microvolunteering has got me thinking.  As you know, the Worldwide Day of Giving is coming up on June 15th!  This year you have an option to volunteer if you would rather do that then do a $10 kindness investment.  If you are busy and don’t have time to get out and volunteer on that day this is your perfect option.  I want to see how many people we can get to do microvolunteering projects on June 15th with Sparked!  Right now they have 2,642 volunteer opportunities on their website.  Wouldn’t it be cool if all of us Year of Giving followers could get enough people to volunteer that day that we could complete every single task they have on their site?  Wow…that would be amazing.

You better start spreading the word fast!

Read Full Post »

Happy Valentines Day!

Although the US tends to think of this day as primarily a day to cherish our spouses or significant others, in many other countries it is a broader celebration that includes remembering our friends; much more like it was when you were in grade school and you made Valentine’s cards for everyone in the class.

Whether we celebrate our lovers or friends, it is a day where we focus on giving.  We often do this by giving gifts or taking time to do something special, but we also give of our hearts.  Why not try something different today and consider volunteering or doing something nice for someone in your community?  And if you can’t find anyone, check out Sparked, a great website that connects volunteers with projects that they can do from the comfort of their own home.

I did one that I will share with you today.  Capital Area Food Bank of Texas (CAFB) wanted some help shaping up their blog.  I often get told that people like my blog partially because they say it is “clean” and “well organized.”  I believe that this applies less this year with the addition of my Year of Volunteering, nonetheless, I have learned a thing or two about what makes a successful blog.

The challenge: “We’d like to get some feedback about our organization’s blog and if we’re providing the right mix of content. What do you like about it, and what could we do to improve? Is it telling our story effectively? Are we spending too much time talking about ways to donate? Are we not telling enough first-person accounts or writing enough essays?”

So I spent some time reviewing their blog and tried to formulate some suggestions for them which you can find here…mine are listed under “Reed.”  If you like them, go ahead and click on the thumbs up to let them know you agree with my suggestions.

Take a look around Sparked. Who knows, maybe you will find a project for you!

Enjoy your week!

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 322 other followers