For the Holidays: Volunteering in the Palm of your Hand

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Nov 25, 2008

The Extraordinaries, a new project by Mobile Voter (disclosure: I sit on the board of Mobile Voter) seeks to revolutionaize the way we volunteer.  We wrote about its precursor before. Busy people in the West rarely volunteer for lack of time to go to an organization. Most volunteer opportunities require training, vetting, and time commitments. In fact 46% of non-volunteers in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, say they don't because they are too busy. 

So why not volunteer wherever you are whenever you have time, using what you know already? The Extraordinaries wants to deliver skill-based volunteer tasks delivered over  the mobile phone to ayone, for any organization.  So what could you do as an insta-volunteer?  Here are some examples: provide technical assistance to someone needing legal advice, mentor a job seeker, translate a document, make phone calls for an organization, provide tax assistance.

How it works

The idea is simple: You download the Extraordinary application to your smart phone. Whenever you have free time, you click on "Be Extraordinary" to launch the application. You will be presented with a list of opportunities that have been provided by nonprofit organizations that you can perform on the spot via phone. Opportunities can be matched to your skills and expertise. When each task is done, you'll be able to rate the experience and the person or organization that you helped will be able to rate you. 

The Extraordinaries are now raising money and expertise to make this idea a reality and are moving ahead with design specs and business planning.  Meanwhile, sign up for Do Something's text alerts for opportunities to volunteer the old-fashioned way this season.


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