Volunteering Made Easy

I just stumbled over a website that I’m really excited about. I’m a really busy person, and even though I really want to volunteer, I find it difficult to commit regular time out of my schedule to help an organization.
It’s not because I don’t care.

  • It’s that I’m busy.
  • I have a lot of other responsibilities.
  • I don’t always feel like my time is well used at an organization.
  • Sometimes, I don’t even hear back from places that I contact about volunteering.

So, I have a lot of valid reasons (ahem, ok, excuses). Honestly though, I would donate my time and abilities if it was easy and rewarding which is why I’m excited about Sparked.com.

Sparked is pioneering the idea of microvolunteering.  Microvolunteering, you ask?  What is that?  In a nutshell: You provide your skills according to your schedule on a small, individual task of a possibly much larger project.

Are you good at web design?  Could you design the page with the map?  Like design?  Could you suggest a new logo?

Here’s my experience with Sparked.com

Choose Your CauseAt their website, you register to be a microvolunteer, and the first thing you are prompted to do is choose which causes you find most interesting.  If you’re like me, it’s not that easy.  I care about all kinds of things.  But I forced myself to narrow my selection and choose just a few.

Then you’re prompted to identify your skills.  You can choose Copywriting, Web Design, Social Networking, Fundraising, and several others.  These are skills that can be done from your computer, so you’re not going to see tasks that require you to be anywhere in person.  No need to worry about your schedule or transportation.

Based on the answers from these two questions, Sparked provides a list of possible microvolunteer opportunities.  You can see in the screen shot below a couple of the options, they suggested.

Microvolunteering Opportunities

I scrolled through a few items and stopped on one that said, “Help Us Sincerely Thank Our Donors”.  Now, I happen to think that I have a way with words, so I thought I’d give this one a shot.  I reviewed the other answers provided and felt like I had something to add to the conversation.  Here’s what I wrote:

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Thank You’s as part of my business, and I believe there is no subsitute for a personal, handwritten thank you.  I used to have a standard thank you letter that I would print out that had all the important details, but then I’d hand write a specific note tailored to my experience with my client.  In that handwritten note, I’d remark about something admirable about their character that I appreciated and valued.  For example,

John, It was such a pleasure working with you, and I loved that you always had a joke waiting for me when I called.  Thanks for making me laugh.

So, you could adapt this for a volunteer, and it might go something like this…

John, For the past three weeks, you’ve shown up on time to work with our clients, and it lets them know that they are important and valuable to you.  It may be the first time in their lives that they’ve felt important to someone, and I want you to know how much I appreciate your committment and caring.  You are making a difference in their lives, and I’m so glad you’re a part of our team.

I know it’s time consuming, but is it more or less time consuming than recruiting new volunteers?  If it’s less time consuming, make it a priority.

So, it was my first experience with microvolunteering.  It took me about 5 minutes.  I got to share what I felt was valuable information with an organization who was seeking some advice.  We’ll see how it goes in the future, but I’m thinking I might become a regular microvolunteer.