Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sparked: Micro-volunteering for busy people

Micro-volunteering. I admire the creativity of the marketing team that thought up this concept. Even though each one of us probably wishes to volunteer our time to causes we believe in, our schedules simply don't permit it. With so many little things that need taking care of, and errands to run, it is near impossible to even set aside (say) 4 hours on any given Saturday for volunteering efforts. These days, we are all overburdened sherpas teetering under the load of our personal and professional to-do's.

Which is where the genius of a site like Sparked.com comes in. By allowing us to "micro-volunteer" they are able to remove that barrier to entry. Not too long ago, I found a mention of Sparked.com, an online micro-volunteering site. I was intrigued enough to investigate and I am so glad that I did.

The sign up process is a cinch – you can use your Facebook login (if you like). 100s of non-profits submit their "challenges." We (the volunteers) can click on 2-3 causes from a list of 12 (education and poverty where the ones I selected) and then the "skills" that we have to offer. (Again, from 12 choices I selected IT, Design and Copywriting.) And that was it. I was enrolled and in.


I was immediately presented with dozens of challenges for my causes that could use my skills. Each challenge is a task that takes just a few minutes. Probably because I chose Design and Copywriting, I was offered the chance to review a fund-raising appeal letter, and to critique non-profit websites. I completed a couple of challenges and it was as easy as adding comments to blogs.

A side benefit for me was that I got to find out about so many neat non-profit efforts that I didn't even know existed. In 30-45 minutes, I was able to respond to a 3-4 challenges.

Sparked.com also sends me reminder emails (if I have not visited the site in 7-10 days) and sends me a teaser challenge or two, asking if I would help out. So I go back and oblige if I have a few minutes.

Please note that I have only tried out Sparked for a few weeks. Normally, I would try out a site for a few months before posting about it. But it occurs to me that perhaps the best way I can assist Sparked is to help get the word out.

Each time I help out on a challenge, I get a buzz that is sweet and pure. Be sure to try this out and see if micro-volunteering is for you.

1 comment:

Middle Way said...

What a super idea! Thanks for the link.