Today, I attended "Mobile Tech for Social Change DC", sponsored by Mobile Active and Google. It was a great day full of learning, sharing, and musing with professionals from all walks of life--community organizers, vendors, academics, nonprofit and government professionals, you name it. PI even got to play with one of those "one laptop per child" laptop's (the little antenna ears are as cute as they look), and let me tell you, they are super neat!
You can follow reports on this event on Twitter (#m4change), and I plan to post a summary of my key takeaways, but there was something so exciting I saw today, I could not wait to get home and blog about it!
During the "Speed Geeks and Applications" session where all kinds of entrepreneurial-minded folks got to show off some of the applications they have been developing using mobile technologies, and one in particular really caught my attention.
First, let me draw your attention to a recent report that estimates the value of a volunteer hour in 2008 to be worth nearly $21. With the down economy and skeletal staffs, this is not something to sneeze at.
And then, let me introduce you The Extraordinaries, a mobile app that promises (and I have seen the demo so it does!) to deliver s micro-volunteer opportunities to mobile phones that can be done on-demand and on-the-spot.
Huh, you say? Well, as Jacob Colker, co-founder and president told me, the idea is to allow people to volunteer any time anywhere, since for most of us, the main constraint for volunteering is having to actually go somewhere and find dedicated hours in a week to do so.
So, how does this Micro-volunteering work? Well, you download an App onto your smart phone (iPhone App is coming soon and believe me people, it's super neat!). And then, say you are standing in line at the grocery store and the lady in front of you is unloading 57 jars of orange juice all of which she considers 1 item in the 10 items or less express lane.
Well, using this app, you could use the time to look through photos archived by the Smithsonian and tag them with common elements you recognize in the photo so people coming after you who are searching for info can easily find stuff in the archive.
Or, you could spend the time recording short MP3 "Thank you" messages to donors that would be delivered to their voice message boxes.
Or, you could spend a few minutes transcribing a piece of a video you saw. Or reviewing homework for a child in a far off land. And you can do this in multiple languages!
So basically, you can harness the power of millions of mirco volunteering minutes into oodles of volunteer hours, worldwide.
Exciting? Yes! A new frontier in volunteer development and management? Yes! Can't wait for the apps to go live and to get my hands on this? Absolutely!
(In our next post, key lessons on growing mobile lists and examples of nonprofits combining mobile with our DR methods).