New ways of giving time: opportunities and challenges in micro-volunteering
Micro-volunteering – participating in small increments of time, in particular through the use of technology – has attracted increasing attention. Despite this, we know very little about the current scope of micro-volunteering, about its potential value and impact, or about its relationship to other forms of volunteering. One of the few pieces of research was published by IVR earlier in 2012, exploring the experiences of people volunteering through Orange’s ‘Do Some Good’ App. But without much-needed evidence the quality of people’s volunteering experience could suffer, supply may struggle to match demand, and policy could be developed inappropriately. Research is required to address this evidence gap and to inform the development of effective policy and organisational practice.
The aim of this research is to explore the opportunities and challenges that micro-volunteering presents for individuals and organisations, in order to inform and improve policy and practice. Specifically it seeks to find out about:
- Nature and scope of micro-volunteering;
- Demand for micro-volunteering opportunities from volunteers;
- Supply of opportunities from organisations;
- Impact of micro-volunteering.
A multi-phase methodology would be used, including:
- An evidence review, including a literature review and an online survey of existing examples of micro-volunteering in the UK and internationally;
- Expert interviews with volunteering infrastructure bodies, policy makers, and volunteering researchers;
- Focus groups with non-volunteers;
- A foresight workshop to map trends and drivers, and explore their implications;
- Case study research and on-going support with ten organisations – five which have used micro-volunteering opportunities, and five which have not yet done so.
- An interim and final research report summarising the key findings of the project and making recommendations for the development of policy and practice.
- A practical ‘how to’ guide for organisations seeking to develop micro-volunteering opportunities.
- An evaluation framework for organisations seeking to assess the success of their programmes and understand the impact.
- Case studies and information on Volunteering England’s ‘Good Practice Bank’.