Microvolunteering: Volunteerism for the Modern Student

Microvolunteering: Volunteerism for the Modern Student

By: Kelly Choi
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With the rise of technology, it is a common sight to see students with their noses buried in their technological devices and mobile phones rather than their textbooks (not that we’re slacking off!). Thanks largely to the rise of unlimited data plans and free Wi-Fi, we are able to connect online at any place and during any time.

Whether it is for school, work, or personal reasons, if you spend most of your day in front of a screen then I would like to add one more criteria to the mix, that is – microvolunteering, volunteerism for the modern, tech-savy student such as yourself!

What is Microvolunteering?

Microvolunteering is essentially virtual volunteering, or more specifically, performing volunteer tasks via use of internet-connected devices. While microvolunteering has been around as early as 2008, it is not until recently that the concept began to take off, thanks to the rise of more convenient and modern technological devices.

How Microvolunteering works

Anyone can become a microvolunteer by first signing up for an account through websites such as www.skillsforchange.com or www.koodonation.com.  From here, users list their skills and select the causes they support, where they will be matched with a number of volunteer tasks they can complete for various non-profit and charitable organizations. Since the tasks require the use of a computer, they are largely web-related. The type of tasks can vary – from graphic and web design to branding to social media and business development. Unlike traditional volunteering, microvolunteering does not require screening or training periods and tasks are meant to be short-term and low-commitment.

The Benefits of Microvolunteering

  • Short-term, low commitment: ideal for students with a hectic and busy schedule
  • Convenience: can complete the tasks anywhere as long as you have access to the internet
  • Selective: you can choose the task that you would like to accomplish based on your schedule and skills
  • Spruce up your portfolio, especially if you are a design student
  • Can lead to long term networks and opportunities

The downsides of Microvolunteering

  • With shorter-term volunteering, some may argue that you lose the quality of impact that long-term volunteering accomplishes. Read about the differences between short term and long term volunteering.
  • Volunteer tasks are more suited for those in the design or marketing field.
  • You would expect to be somewhat computer-savy

While microvolunteering may or may not be for you, it is definitely an option to consider if you are a busy student who would still like to devote some time to helping out a non-profit or charitable organization in developing their online presence.

Posted on November 26, 2013