iVolntr.org - An Illustrative Example

iVolntr.org is essentially a web2.0 concept for a social volunteering site that works by connecting existing networks, such as Facebook, with collaborative technologies that enable people to help others via the web. It will not only increase the exposure of physical volunteering opportunities through feeds in major social networks but will also allow people to volunteer from the comfort of home, using web-based document and media editing tools. Nothing this comprehensive has been done before (see the comparison grid in my previous post), and if we get it up and running, iVolntr will revolutionise the way volunteering is perceived and done, particularly amongst 16-35's or what I call the 'Facebook Generation'.

Here's an illustration:
A youth charity supporting excluded inner-city teenagers with career development, puts up a request for help with reviewing job applications and CV's. You've got the iVolntr application on Facebook and are interested in youth projects. Their request pops up in your 'Live Feed'. You have a little spare time so you click the link, which opens their profile and documents in your browser allowing you to edit them or leave helpful suggestions. When you have to go, you save and quit, and the document is free for others to keep working on it, until it can be marked complete. Their thank-you note shows on your Facebook profile, so your friends can see what you've been working on and your volunteering portfolio automatically updates for future reference.

Virtual volunteering thus covers anything that can be done for individuals or organisations using digital editing technologies. Other examples include:

  • Career and educational help;
  • Business plans;
  • Ideation (idea generation and validation);
  • Funding and housing applications;
  • Marketing strategies, and plans;
  • Graphics and video;
  • Financial or other spreadsheets;
  • Virtual meetings;
  • Experience-sharing;
  • Answering questions and providing advice;

These are just some examples out of a huge list of possibilities.

Connecting with existing social networks and using a crowdsourced volunteering model, addresses the major barriers to volunteering including findability, immediacy, physicality, localisation, commitment, and kudos; in combination helping more of us to make a collective difference on a global scale.

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