“Canadians give willingly, but what limits them is their awareness.”

Written by Banu Raghuraman

The opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of Endeavour.

As a continuation of our January topic, we continue with part 2 of our interview with Kate Robb. Click here for Part 1.

KateKate is the Manager of Marketing Communications at Koodo Mobile where she is responsible for Koodonation: an online micro- volunteering community that gives Canadians the opportunity to help Canadian not-for-profit organizations, directly from their computers. Koodonation gives non-profit organizations a platform to challenging online volunteers to provide a variety of services from their homes, including website review, design, blogging, copywriting and market research.

Kate is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario with an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

7. How much of the Koodo’s resources are allocated for this initiative? Did you have to change your management structure to manage the volunteers?
Koodonation is an entirely grassroots initiative and the community manages itself as living social network. This means microvolunteers and non-profits have the ability to interact with one another and hold each other accountable for all responses on the site. that said, our PR partners act as site administrators and work alongside myself to spread the word through events, earned media and word-of-mouth.

8. What types of volunteers works well with microvolunteering?
Koodonation is great for individuals who want to volunteer but can’t commit to a regularly scheduled volunteering opportunity.
When you sign up at Koodonation, you can sign up for specific skills, which then match you up with the challenges available. For example, even though you may be a web designer, you may have some skills in web marketing. If you indicate that, we will also match you up with web marketing related challenges. So people who have multiple sets of skills can use this platform to work on a variety of tasks.
It is also great for people who are very tech savvy. There has been an explosion in terms of technology and popularity of how much social media affects all walks of life, but many non-profits don’t have the financial or human resources to keep up with real-time marketing or social media demands. Simple things that may come naturally to us, or to the Gen X,Y individuals, may not be so obvious or feasible for charities and even that helps in microvolunteering.

9. What are your tips and best practices to make microvolunteering experience successful?
We focus on quality, not volume. Koodonation is a forum where many challenges are posted, but if the volunteer has just done one post, which was meaningful and thoughtful – that goes a long way instead of posting on multiple challenges without making much contribution.
And although it is a lot easier to give back with microvolunteering, it is a challenge working online, since the work is done remotely, without any direct interaction and exchange of information. Thought has to go into creating and communicating a meaningful response to the challenge posted. So to be knowledgeable and passionate in a chosen few areas and doing it well will make microvolunteering successful.

10. How do you encourage appreciation and community spirit for these online volunteers?
All posts are public, so people tend to build on previous posts and comments. Often, the ideas get better or more analyzed, making it more wholesome and complete. We also allow the not-for-profits to contact the volunteers directly and ask any specific questions about their responses / posts. This encourages community spirit.
We also appreciate the best posts and volunteers. NFPs can select and appreciate their favourite or best answer.

11. To what do you attribute your success?
Word of mouth – we have grown so far because our microvolunteers talk about their positive experiences and spread the message.
Canadians give willingly, but what limits them is awareness. Once they know about it, they get in the game and try it. And then they share their experience. This is recognition and spreading the good word.
We also try to maintain awareness and action across Canada through regular programs, events and initiatives. Be sure to look for our street team in 2014, and for more.

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