If the idle processing power of computers can be used for achieving a greater goal, so can the time people spend on procrastination, commuting, standing in queues, staring at nonsensical status updates on Facebook…
One of the first people to come up with a way to use this untapped resource was Ben Rigby, co-founder of http://www.sparked.com. His TEDx talk (http://bit.ly/2atNeYl) is thought-provoking and inspiring.
This theory of micro-volunteerism is based on three principles:
- Convenience – it is possible to volunteer on the devices that are already in your pocket
- Small pieces – break bigger projects into easily and quickly achievable smaller tasks
- Network model of management that allows for peer review to implement quality control
Ben talks about a global system of volunteering that is completed via internet on a variety of digital platforms. Non-profits can upload a task and people from any corner of the world can volunteer their skills.
However, many non-profits often actually need people to be physically present to assist with tasks. Using the same three principles, the term micro-volunteering also applies to other types of one-off flexible volunteering that can be fitted around a very busy schedule. Drop-in, visiteering and speed volunteering are just three names used to describe the same idea.
Micro-volunteering can be used on a global scale but it can just as easily be implemented in just one organisation or even one part of an organisation. It is easy to set up, simple to manage and as such can be developed from the grassroots up to engulf whole non-profits, networks of organisations, and take over the world of volunteering as we know it now.
Some examples of microvolunteering include MapSwipe