What I learned from… starting a microvolunteering initiative

A guest post from Mike Bright, @helpfromhome of Help From Home.

I run an initiative called Help From Home that promotes the concept of microvolunteering and I also organize the International Microvolunteering Day on April 15th every year. For the uninitiated, microvolunteering can be described as on-demand, no commitment actions that benefit worthy causes, and which can be completed in under two hours.

I started my initiative in 2008 when I realised the voluntary sector were not promoting these type of opportunities to their local or national catchment area.

Initially I collated approximately 450 micro-actions (it’s now over 800) and touted these actions to Volunteer Centres and Volunteer Involved Organisations in the UK (where I’m based). As with all things that need a change of mindset, I was met with dogged resistance due to the lack of control these organisations would have over managing these type of actions. Gradually a few proactive volunteer centres stuck their neck out and started to discuss and promote the microvolunteering concept.

From these little beginnings, micrvolunteering has become a much talked about subject, where I can proudly say I’ve pioneered the concept in the UK, and jointly pioneered it on a global basis.

I spend a lot of time on my initiative, all of it voluntary where I run it virtually by myself on as little as $250 / year.

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So what have I learned from running Help From Home?

– An ordinary Joe Bloggs like me can create impact on a global scale

– Be true to yourself and if you’re asked to do something that steps out of your comfort zone, then don’t do it. You’ll find a way to overcome the impact you could have made if you did the thing you were asked to do. For me, my out-of-comfort zone is giving presentations and talks – I just don’t do them, period!

– Necessity is the mother of creativity (or something like that). With no income to speak of, I’ve had to be creative in the promotion department. I believe if all nonprofits informed their staff that their budgets were going to be slashed to zero, but yet still had to achieve impact, you would see a lot more creative input and more bang for your buck being delivered

– If you believe that what you’re doing is the right thing to do, then stick to your guns and ride it out, through thick and thin

– Above all, never give up on the ripple of impact you’re making. You might never see the ripple in all its full glory, but you know it’s there. That’s what keeps me going!

***

MikeMike runs the Help From Home initiative that promotes the concept of microvolunteering. He also single handedly organizes the International Microvolunteering Day on April 15th every year. You can find out more about Help From Home and how to get involved here.

To contribute to the “What I learned from…” PIN Blog Series, just send 3-500 words to us at practicalinitiatives@gmail.com, include a photograph of yourself, or if you’d prefer to remain anonymous, send us a topical photo you’ve taken. Include any useful links and we’ll get back to you. You can read more about the series here: Call for Contributions!

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