For years, non-profit organizations have relied on the support of volunteers, not only for their skills but also their time. It is no secret that finding volunteers to donate 8 to 12 hours a week can be tricky. But what if volunteers could help their communities and beyond, on their own time, through a strong internet connection and from the comfort of their own home? In the 21st century, this is possible due to micro-volunteering, a quick way to volunteer time on our own terms.
Micro-volunteering is usually done through smartphones and social media but can also be done with a simple internet connection. Compared to the United Kingdom, who does most of their micro-volunteering through advertisements posted online, North America takes the social media approach. This approach has allowed micro-volunteering to thrive among the millennials.
Bell Let’s Talk
In Canada Bell Let’s Talk Day, a popular annual micro-volunteering initiative launched by the telecommunications company, has seen remarkable success, not only nationally but internationally. Launched in 2011, the aim of the campaign was to create awareness about mental illness. Each time the hashtag #BellLetsTalk was used on social media or sent via text over the Bell network, Bell donated 5 cents to mental health programs across Canada. Bell Let’s Talk Day 2017 amassed a total of $6 million, which went towards community outreach programs, mental health centers, and more. This astonishing feat was due to one simple fact: it was conducted online. Because Twitter tracks trending hashtags, #BellLetsTalk caught the attention of an international audience, and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres tweeted it out to her 67 million followers, which caused an uptick in retweets and mentions of Bell’s mental health campaign.
Ice Bucket Challenge
In 2014, there was the Ice Bucket Challenge, which saw users on social media pour a bucket of ice water on themselves to solicit donations for ALS research. Though the campaign began in the United States, people from around the world were taking part due to the reach of social media. This year ALS announced they raised $115 million in an 8-week period during the 2014 micro-volunteer campaign. The donations allowed them to make a major breakthrough in their research. While many lauded it as “slacktivism,” a term used to describe a campaign that is popular but doesn’t get actual results, the Ice Bucket Challenge proved that one can accomplish change from the comfort of their home.
In the 21st century, micro-volunteering is an effective way to bring your cause to the masses and make a difference. Not only does it raise awareness for the charity and initiative but also align your brand with forward-thinking and positive changes.
Jennifer D’Agostino | The Edge Blog