Innovation That Matters

Tapping the professional skills of micro-volunteers via iPhone and web

Nonprofit & Social Cause

Much the way Catalista connects would-be volunteers with opportunities by mobile phone, so Sparked by The Extraordinaries aims to enable “micro-volunteering,” whereby philanthropists with a few minutes of free time can use it to make a difference. Currently in private limited beta, San Francisco-based The Extraordinaries is an online platform that seeks to make it easy for altruistic consumers to support an organization or cause they care about. Toward that end, it enlists both individuals and groups of company employees to contribute their expertise to a nonprofit in even the smallest chunks of time. Nonprofits begin by posting requests to the site; those, in turn, are routed to would-be volunteers based on their skills and interests. Examples might include translating a page of a document into Spanish, for instance, or helping to choose a new logo; The Extraordinaries even has pre-built “kits” that turn a series of best practices into tasks for volunteers. Willing volunteers then complete the requests during a spare moment via iPhone (through a dedicated app) or web browser—or they can share it with their colleagues. Either way, corporate team volunteers can track each others’ efforts via a Team Activity feed. Current nonprofit users of The Extraordinaries include KaBOOM!—which we’ve covered before—and Big Cat Rescue. The Extraordinaries is in the process of becoming a B Corp.; its business model will eventually include charging organizations a fee for each task completed, according to a report on NPR. Social entrepreneurs around the globe: time to make micro-volunteering your new best friend…? (Related: iPhone app lets users earn cash for small tasksWork site divides large jobs into small, concurrent tasksQuick tasks via SMS for phone users in the developing worldJob marketplace for quick online tasks.) Spotted by: Cecilia Biemann


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