Written by Banu Raghuraman
The opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of Endeavour.
Sean Cameron is a 3rd year HBBA student at Wilfrid Laurier University, currently on his 2nd coop assignment. Sean is known for “making a difference” in his communities and is passionate about social entrepreneurship. Click here to read more on him and part 1 of this article.
6. Based on some online articles, some say that microvolunteering deviates from the traditional sense of volunteering in that people are less altruistic and more self centred, as they volunteer for their own need to develop their skills. Can you elaborate a bit more on how this will complement traditional volunteering?
I think you could say that we also have that same problem in traditional volunteering. Some people may just volunteer to build hours or for some other personal gain, but the majority of people volunteer because they want to give back to their community. It is the same principle with microvolunteering. The platform compliments traditional volunteering by expanding the base and targeting volunteers with specific skills. Traditional volunteering will always be an important aspect of how charities operate, microvolunteering is simply a value-add approach to help organizations reach new heights.
7. To what do you attribute the success of this initiative?
It is all about a grassroots community taken online. As I said, this is a 21st century solution for a social, tech savvy audience. Being online gets the word out, and is supplemented by word of mouth marketing. There is a large group of people who come together to solve these big problems from across the country.
Within the website, the challenges are solved in a democratic fashion as people vote for ideas they like. Further, people contributing ideas can see the impact of their work as charities have a direct link to the challenge boards.
8. What is the future of microvolunteering? Will this be the new way forward?
It will continue to grow as a platform and soon become a standard part of how the charity operates. Charities are always trying to get the most benefit for every dollar, so they will want the best idea that will help them achieve their mission and goals.. Microvolunteering will help them do this, while create awareness on a national scale.
9. Any other thoughts you would like to share in the spirit of giving?
Volunteerism is an important aspect of any person’s life. I have learnt a great deal while volunteering. We are lucky in Canada, lucky that we have the ability to give back, so we should try as much as possible to do so. We get so busy sometimes that we forget this, but we should stop and consider that no matter how big or small the act is, it will make a difference. At Laurier, volunteering is an intrinsic part of our education. Our motto is “Inspiring Lives of Leadership and Purpose”, and as a community we are always encouraged to give back.
As we move into the New Year many people will set goals for 2014. I highly encourage everyone to think about adding 15 minutes of microvolunteering a week to their goals. If we can get enough people participating, our local community and the global community will be a much better place.
10. And lastly any thoughts about your experience with KoodoNation?
It was an amazing experience. There were 230 volunteers from Laurier who came together to help the community. We had 5x the volunteers of any other school, which I think is a testament to Laurier’s philanthropic culture. It was great to see what such a large, dedicated group could do. We donated our prize to the Colin B. Glassco Foundation for Children, a remarkable organization that helps thousands of Zambians escape poverty through food, water, education, and health care initiatives. Our donation went toward building the Wilfrid Laurier University Medical clinic, which will help 5,200 families gain access to the health care that they need.