Several months back Volunteer Today
visit with one of the founders of The Extraordinaries. It was a tip
off to an extraordinary way in which people can volunteer. Sitting
in traffic, waiting for the commuter train, at the kid's game, at a
doctor office, or anywhere you are waiting? Take out your mobile phone
(you can use your computer, as well) and you can volunteer. That's right,
volunteering in nanoseconds.
The Extraordinaries is a micro-volunteering platform,
that allows organizations to engage their supporters via micro-actions,
done on-demand and on the spot using a mobile phone or web browser. It
is volunteering in minutes and seconds and the uses are only limited by
Here are some examples of what you can post for volunteer
Create a profile and upload a document that you want translated. The system
parses it up into micro work blocks that are uploaded to a mission in
your profile, and your supporters begin translating a few sentences at
a time. As those sentences are translated, other supporters rate the quality,
and through the power of the crowd you get real translations done for
a fraction of the cost.
Problem: From museums to human rights advocacy groups, environmental policy
organizations to universities, we all have photographs. But how do you
find the right photo when you need it? It could take hours to dig through
directory after directory of images. To have your staff sort through and
tag (curate) all those photos can take weeks - and it's not really the
best use of their time.
With Extradordinaries you can create a profile on the site, and send them
a link to a Flicker photo library. The system pulls from Flickr's API
and allows your supporters to start adding tags to your Flickr photos,
making it ridiculously easy for you to search your Flickr library when
you need to find the right photo.
Investigation or Evidence Collection
Problem: You've got a big issue to investigate. You're trying to find
illegal dumping sites, map animal abuse cases, identify where the city
has been wasting water resources. Problem is, there is no way that your
small staff can go out and collect all of that evidence. How it works:
Create a profile and put out a request for evidence. The system instantly
puts a camera, GPS, mobile Internet, video player, and keyboard in the
hands of your supporters - through phones they already have in their pocket!
With one click, volunteers can work on the task, and start collecting
Problem: You need to build a mapped database of play spaces, defibrillators,
dog rescues, waste sites, and more. But there is no easy way to do this.
How it works: Create a profile and build your GPS mapping or tracking
task. The system instantly puts a camera, GPS, mobile Internet, video
player, and keyboard in the hands of your supporters. With one click,
volunteers can work on the task, and start collecting real data.
Feedback and Critique
Problem: You've got a new website, brochure, video, or audio recording.
You want to get feedback on it, but surveys or email blasts just aren't
exciting enough. You might even want audio or video feedback to use as
sound bites in your podcasts or as other promotional materials. How it
works: Create a profile and upload a link, or your material(s). With one
click, you can blast that task to your community, and start getting real
The Extraordinaries are in the pilot phase and are looking
for organizations to help test their application. This is moving into
a new and exciting form of volunteering. Check it out. http://www.beextra.org/