Microvolunteering can have a big impact on your organisation if you do it right.
On Sunday, organisations were taking to social media to encourage people to take part in microvolunteer opportunities to support their cause on Microvolunteer Day.
What is microvolunteering? Well, it’s defined as ‘bite sized, on demand, no commitment actions that benefit a worthy cause.” This definition is key! It’s not regular volunteering (not even monthly), or something that requires lengthy training or something that lasts for several days.
As this year’s theme for Volunteers’ Week is ‘volunteering for all’, it’s a great opportunity to highlight microvolunteer opportunities to individuals that feel they don’t have the time to commit to a regular volunteer opportunity.
So, what are some great examples of microvolunteer opportunities? Take a look below for some inspiration:
1. Become a digital activist
What has previously been labelled as slacktivism, is actually a great example of microvolunteering. Whether it’s retweeting a video, joining a Thunderclap or sharing a post on Facebook, this is a great way to encourage people to spread the word and raise awareness about your cause.
On Sunday several organisations took to social media to encourage this, including What? Why? Children in Hospital who were asking people to Tweet a link to their videos and MND Association who were asking people to join their Thunderclap.
Another great example of digital activism is Amnesty’s #TrollPatrol, where Twitter users are encouraged to expose sexist, racist and other abuse against women on what they call #ToxicTwitter. People who want to get involved will receive ‘quick training’ and once they’re ready can dedicate as little as 30 seconds to detecting and reporting online abuse. Find out more about the Amnesty Decoder project on their website.
What can you do to empower people to be digital activists?
2. Write an online review
This is an easy way to ask people to get involved in your cause; asking them to share their story on an online review platform like Good HQ. It only takes a few minutes and helps your organisation to gather feedback and testimonials. It provides a really easy way for supporters to volunteer their time to help spread the word about your good cause. If you haven’t signed up to Good HQ, claim your organisations page and start collecting feedback.
Good HQ isn’t the only place you can share reviews. Euan’s Guide, the disabled access review website and app, is another great way to get involved in microvolunteering. Have you listed your organisation’s offices, charity shops or services on there? Add your organisation and ask your service users and supporters to write a review. And next time you’re out and about, whether it’s at the Post Office or at a museum, share a review on how accessible the venue is to help build the online resource. Find out how you can sign up and how to write a good access review on the Euan’s Guide website.
3. Become a citizen scientist
We can all be scientists! There are lots of charities harnessing the power of the public to help them with their work. The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch that takes place every January is a great example. Over 420,000 people across the UK took part in the event this year, collectively spotting over 6 million birds!
The Scottish Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust and The Conservation Volunteers are also keen promoters of citizen science. Find out more on The Conservation Volunteers website and if you love penguins, check out Penguin Watch!
Could your organisation encourage people to be a citizen scientist?
4. Use the power of words
Amnesty International might be one of the first organisations you think of when it comes to letter writing. But they’re not the only ones. Organisations such as Postpals and Silverline also have writing programmes, plus writing to a MSP about a campaign or cause could also be considered microvolunteering.
One of my personal favourites last year, was the Vintage Vibes Christmas card campaign where people were encouraged to write a card to a VIP (very important lonely person over 60 years old) who would be alone over the festive season. It was a great example of microvolunteering, encouraging Edinburgh residents to spend ten minutes writing a card to help spread the festive joy.
Is Microvolunteering right for your organisation?
Microvolunteering isn’t right for every organisation. The key to a good microvolunteer opportunity is that it’s useful for your organisation, it’s fun for the volunteer, you’re able to provide support to volunteers and you have the resources to make it a success. It’s not the route to converting people into regular volunteers, but it’s a great way to build a community of people who can support your organisation on an ad-hoc basis.
Got a microvolunteer opportunity? Add it to Good HQ and start thinking about how you can promote your opportunities during #VolunteersWeekScot from 1st – 7th June. Find out more about how you can get involved in this year’s campaign on the Volunteer Scotland website.