[I originally published this blog on my own: http://robdysonpr.wordpress.com]
Earlier this month, I attended the launch of mobile giant Orange’s Mobile Volunteering venture, in London. The concept is simple but also quite revolutionary; a logical and progressive step forwards in their pursuance of community action, following their incredibly successful Orange Rock Corp youth volunteering incentive scheme.
The notion is thus; one smartphone application (only being seriously considered for development for iPhone at present) containing 10 of the best opportunities formicrovolunteering for charities – all able to be undertaken via your mobile phone, and all under five minutes. These could be (for example) taking photos using your phone and tagging them for an environmental charity; or taking part in a quick survey to help build a research picture for an NGO. There is literally a galaxy of ideas…
I am excited in principle about the idea. At first it wasn’t clear whether the best ideas currently being crowdsourced through the new, dedicated website http://mobilevolunteering.co.uk/ would be developed as stand alone apps or integrated into a single piece of tech. On the night, we were treated to a sneak preview of the prototype for the Orange Mobile Volunteeting App and the picture (future?) has started to become clearer.
I would encourage all / any charities to get penning their best ideas, and put them on the site right now for public voting! The top three will be developed and included in the Orange App automatically, and the next seven will be drawn from all entries – judged by a ‘specialist panel’.
As the volunteering opportunities will be encompassed under one Orange-branded app – the danger of them languishing in Apple’s App Store with no interest is very low. Orange used this justification for producing and branding the product to high heaven; because (they’re right) their brand will serve to elevate the app – and the concept of volunteering – to saturation levels through the Orange marketing machine.
Final thought – if we’re all to be part of a Big Society now, with little steer from Government on how exactly we do this; it’s going to take the innovation and collaboration of companies like Orange with the third sector, and community-minded developers, to place the tools in our hands to do so. *applause for Orange*
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