At ONEplace we're all about the value of volunteering...helping nonprofits connect with volunteers, and vice versa. However, as we all know, one of the challenges of relying on the talent and commitment of volunteers is that they don't always have as much time as we'd like, to help nonprofit organizations turn their visions into reality.
That is precisely the issue that led to the creation of The Extraordinaries, a web-based platform for micro-volunteering that launched about a year ago. According to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, a periodical we receive at ONEplace, "[t]he goal is to harness thousands of currently untapped hours by making volunteering fast, convenient, and bite-sized. While waiting for a bus or cooling your heels at the dentist's office, you could be using your smart phone to tag photos for the Smithsoinian, send a study tip to an at-risk student, or map your local parks. 'We want volunteering to be as fun and ubiquitous as playing a game,' explains Sundeep Ahuja, cofounder and president of the San Francisco-based business."
As soon as I read about The Extraordinaries, I went to the site, signed up, searched some of the more popular projects, and was soon busy tagging photographic images for the Library of Congress. And it did feel like I was playing a game, but I knew I was doing much more. I was really making a difference. I look forward to digging a little deeper into the site and searching for other projects, which are listed by categories such as climate, animals or education.
And of course, there is a social media angle to this effort as well. Participants can share their Extraordinaries activities with friends via Facebook, Twitter, and the like. This means that the brief volunteer contribution by one person could easily multiply, inspiring more to do the same. And all it takes is a few minutes. Ingenius!