Innovation That Matters

Mobile app connects volunteers with opportunities


Despite the best efforts of companies like Disney and Sage Hospitality to reward those who donate their time to charity, the fact remains that volunteerism in the US has declined by 27 percent since 2001, according to app developer Catalista. Hoping to combat that trend, the San Francisco company has created mobile apps for Android and iPhone that make it easy for potential volunteers to find opportunities across the country. Users begin by downloading the free Catalista application onto their mobile phone–versions are available for both the Android-based T-Mobile G1 and myTouch and Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch. The application uses All for Good‘s open API to connect users with more than 200,000 real-time, local opportunities across the US, offering them numerous chances to give back that day, weekend or month in an effort taking place nearby. Catalista also lets users invite their friends on Facebook to join them in a volunteer effort; in addition, it provides a way for users to track their cumulative impact and rate their volunteering experience once they’ve done a good deed. Even beyond the mobile access to volunteer opportunity listings, what seems especially compelling about Catalista is the possibility that it could facilitate spontaneous, ad-hoc volunteering, whereby people with a few hours of unscheduled time on their hands can find and participate in local opportunities that they might not have been able to plan for otherwise. One to partner with or emulate for would-be volunteers in the rest of the world…? Spotted by: Brian Somers



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