wouldn't you love it if . . .


people could just help out whenever they have time?

Well, now they (read you and I) can.

A group called The Extraordinaries has started a web site called Sparked.com that matches people and non-profits.  It just takes a few minutes to sign up. And it just takes a few minutes to help. You decide when and what you do. This is micro-volunteering. No applications, no training, no screening or orientation. Just you and a task you can do or not.

You may have heard of the closely related practice of virtual volunteering. The two are similar in that they are both done online or via smart phone. But, as a virtual volunteer, you go through all the regular application and intake processes for your non-profit. You may also require training and orientation. Then, you do your volunteer tasks from home, the office, the library even; wherever there’s a computer. If you’d like to do virtual volunteering, VolunteerMatch.org can get you set up.

Back to microvolunteering: Sparked takes applications from non-profits and then breaks down their tasks into bite-sized pieces. From there, they “cloudsource” it.  Cloudsourcing involves putting a request out to lots of people at once. The potential experts in the group form the “cloud.” The request is what is being “sourced.” So, putting the request out to the people who said they had those skills is “cloudsourcing.”

Say you tell them you design logos. When someone wants a logo designed, they let you know – generally via cell phone. You decide whether you want to spend the time and energy on the non-profit that wants the logo.  Clearly, logo design would take some hours.

Other tasks may require only minutes. You might: advise on how to refine a mission or vision statement, copy-edit a newsletter, teach how to dig a well, design a logo, or vote on your favorite website style.  Almost any job or task that can be done on computer can be done as a volunteer for Sparked.com. 

So, whether you’re into virtual or micro volunteering, I salute you. What a way to make the world a better place: one bite-sized task at a time.

Rock on!