When students come to chat to us in our offices or ask about the leadership & volunteering program, one of the first things we ask is the following question:
A bit of a lofty idea, I know, but an incredibly important thing to find out about. Understandably, quite a few people are stumped by this question, but its answer goes to the heart of our program. We ask about it for two reasons:
- to find out about you and understand how we can help you fit the leadership program into your probably already quite busy life and discover how we can best support you.
- even more importantly, it helps us to find out what sort of volunteering opportunities you may be interested in.
Just like our tastes in friends or partners, a volunteer opportunity that works for one person may not be best for another. This means that we spend a lot of our time flipping through postcards from different organisations discussing them with students who would like to volunteer but aren’t sure where to start. It’s a great way of discussing options, but not all students even know to come and visit us to throw around ideas.
So I’d like to propose a new way of choosing organisations to volunteer with.
Well, it’s not really a new way. More like repurposing (and definitely not plagiarising!) a good idea that someone else had.
Why are we not using it to find volunteer opportunities?
It’s so convenient! People already use it to find the perfect match (or the match for right now) for people in their area. Why aren’t we using great technology like this to make our world a better place?
Imagine it: swipe right to add an opportunity to your pinboard (at this point my app idea’s starting to sound like a mix of tinder and pinterest, but what good idea isn’t stealing from others?!) and swipe left for things that don’t interest you. I picture it as being intelligent enough to start to learn the sorts of things that people are interested in. And all this from the comfort of wherever you happen to be with a wifi connection!
I mean don’t get me wrong, the volunteer expos we’ve been hosting this week at Mount Helen and Gippsland have been absolutely fantastic opportunities for people to speak face to face with organisations and an app will never be able to replace that one-on-one contact. But we can only hold so many expos. Having that information down in a simple app would make reaching people who are interested in volunteering throughout the year so much easier.
So I’d like to offer a prize for anyone who has the skills to develop this app or who has any other fantastic ideas to make the world a better place. I can’t promise it will be a good prize, but it will be a prize nonetheless. Let us know your thoughts on this or anything else you think would make a difference!