We want to do something, share and participate in our world. And, we want inspire others to join in our various parades. What is the on ramp for Get Involved in our neighbourhood, our city, our country and our world? Organizers and citizens could circle the globe and back citing examples of websites that ask you to Join, Participate, or Get Involved.
Getting Involved Dreaming means considering how can we stitch together all the amazing opportunities in a collaborative and citizen-focused way. From offline to online engagement, there is a buffet of awesome for communities and companies. Each has a Get Involved strategy focused on their ROI goals or theory of change. When Linked In created their Volunteer site, I cheered. This combined with the rise of Corporate Social Responsibility programs is just touching the surface. From NationBuilder or Crowdrise, you see that there are a million ways to help organizations or individuals build “get involved” and create “fundraising’ opportunities. This is the same for open source, crisismappers and digital volunteers. Every day at Ushahidi I wondered about how to help all these citizen mappers force multiply their mission. Each of their ideas and projects truly matter in the world. Mozilla and Ubuntu have some best practices for Getting Involved Strategies in open source communities. The Digital Humanitarian Network was created to help people and organizations connect during times of crisis. My colleague, Patrick Meier, created AIDR: Artificial Intelligence for Disaster Response with the Qatar Computing Research Institute. This is micro-mapping and volunteer tasking at is small bit best. Social Coding 4 Good focuses on developers and technical folks whereas Do Something is for teens. In Canada, there is Getinvolved.ca. I could spend all day giving examples of excellence in building community.
What if we dream a bit bigger and turn the model around to help our common mission?
Master Search: Get involved, Community of Practice
What if we pulled back and had a Master Search for all these amazing things we could do to help our neighbours? The software exists, we just need to collaborate a bit more and aim for easy access for citizens to find their doing or giving passion. The key audience would be participants, doers, citizens and you. We would have a JOIN showcase. It is a simple navigator that Asks people what they want to do or what they want to give. The aggregator would then help match them to tasks and communities. Think of it as a global MATCH.com for giving. We would give love to open source organizations, corporations, non-profits, community-based organizations and citizens. Truly, this is all hands on deck to make it possible for anyone and any organization to connect. Using my Bit, Bye and Meal Deal community building framework, we could tailor it with the code to help people Choose their own adventure based on topic, time, location and their learning/doing/giving path.
The Community of Practice for Organizers would be the second audience. This would include anyone who wants to share and help make it easier for people to get involved in their world. It is not limited to non-profits alone, but for companies who have CSR programmes or Open Source groups. While I don’t want to simplify any of the amazing efforts, I’d like to see a common place for organizers to unite and share best practices and maybe build some common toolsets. Right now this is scattered. We have to hunt down articles on Chronicle for Philanthropy, join the Community Roundtable, seek counsel at NTEN , find each other in the halls at OSCON (create a Birds of a Feather) or attend the Community Leadership Summit. I created this fledgling mailing list to try to connect organizers some.
What’s in the Code? Pybossa or Crowdcrafting was built to help matchmake people to tasks. Mozilla has even adopted this great tool: What can I do for Mozilla? (See the code.) There is a new Canadian company called AskforTask that matches people to tasks for pay. What if this type of code was for volunteering? We are closer to this master search or JOIN dashboard everyday.
What examples can you share? Are you working on this? Do you want to help me try and sort out this tangled dream of helping people get more involved in their world? You can join the mailing list or drop a note on this post.
(Photo: Story of Berlin (March 2013))