Sunday, March 24, 2013

What do you think of this idea? Volunteer Power Map : Web site and mobile app to request, plan, and promote your volunteer activities

A map based website and mobile map application that allows customers to request, plan, and promote their volunteer activities. 

The vision and purpose of this website is to promote and track the power of volunteers around the community! It would be extremely heartwarming to visualize the power community service in near real-time and historically (as measured in volunteer person-hours). There are too much sad, bad news and negativism, but I know there are so many people that are giving their time and energy but that information is not captured effectively to drive and encourage other people to do more.

4 potential types of customers and their pain points
1) People see problems in their community and want to make suggestions
- A street block that needs some trash clean up
- An abandoned park that needs some gardening
- Graffiti filled wall that needs to be repainted
- Local library needs volunteers to sort and organize books
- A senior citizen needs help to walk the dog.
- School teacher that needs volunteer for class activities

2) People looking for ways to help their community
- Cub scout / boy scouts that trying to earn merit badges
- Local companies / employees that want to be give back to the community
- High school clubs
- Internet Meet ups.

3) People that already have specific volunteer plan and asking people to join them and promote the activity. 
- Street clean up starting on Monday 11 am, to start 1st and Ast. Please RSVP so we can plan the number of trash bags, and gloves.
- Beach walk and clean up meeting on Sunday afternoon start from the pier.
- Curb side car wash to raise money for church on Sunday 1pm to 4pm 

4) People that want to track their volunteerism activities or give credit to other peoples volunteerism activities.
- A soccer team wants to recognize the coach for her effort
- PTA leadership wants to recognize a special event coordinator
- A high school student wants to track and share pictures and video from his volunteer fun events

Use Cases:
1) Dashboard to visualize the power of the community service activities by location, a group, or an individual contribution. Imagine a color coded map overlay that shows the density of volunteer person-hours over a period of time. Also app where acts of kindness can be visualized and promoted in near real-time. The map would show glittering stars as people contribute and sign up for community services.

2) Mobile app that customers can use to quickly take pictures of issues around the community. Using a mobile map application, people can quickly add suggestions and browse existing suggestion in the same area. 

3) Customers could use the app for monitoring and filtering for volunteer requests, or events around specific locations (home, school, or work), or favorite activities such as gardening, or painting, or available free time set aside for volunteerism. 

4) Customers could use the app propose, gather volunteers, vote, and coordinate location, time, and supplies to the community service activities.

5) Customer to track and promote their volunteer activities achievements, through check-ins to specific location and events.

6) Customer to track and promote other people’s volunteer activities achievements, through check-ins to specific location and events.

Some people get there ideas in the shower, for me, it's the middle of the night when I can't sleep. A phone call woke me up 4am and I couldn't go back to sleep and this idea came to me.  This is probably not a unique idea, but I think if we can start an open source project, we can build a pretty usable and successful website and mobile application.

Let me know if you like the idea, and features suggestions on twitter, facebook, and Google+.

If you run a community service program, let me know how you would use this platform to drive greater number of volunteers and show the power of your volunteers.

If you know of a similar platform or application, let me know. Maybe this should be an add-on to Google+ or four squares, instead of stand-alone app. I welcome all suggestions to understand what technology platform is the most effective way to capture and visualize the power of community activism.

If you have a similar open source project, let me know if you need a volunteer.

If I can gather some serious number of “likes”, retweets, and +1s, I will start developing a new open source project and gather other volunteers to start building this web and mobile application.


D2xstudio said...

this is great idea.
I hope google make this kind project can free use google map!

imeeshu said...

Ricky...I run an org that has volunteers, but what I find is that people engage in outreach/volunteer events through affinity groups. Churches, Surfrider, etc. So mainly it's word of mouth.

Generally speaking, I don't find people to be altruistic enough to seek something to do on a Saturday....this has happened once in my life That being said, however, very recently, I tried to sign up for Habitat for Humanity through my alumni club, and it was sold out! So I tried to find something else to do, and it was a challenge.

I'm not sure I would've thought to do a Google Map mashup...

What's the revenue model? :)

Unknown said...

Meesh and D2xstudio. Thank you for your encouragement.

Meesh - I think you are totally right that affinity group / word of mouth is a best form of sign up and map mashup is not the most immediate mechanism

The question that I have been thinking about is how to make this viral and more social? I think that must be the initial key. The organization and affinitiy groups go where the people are. So the main question is how to generate viral behaviors that encourages community of volunteers to join in.

My initial lean startup hypothesis would be that volunteer would willing to post their activities and recipients would be willing to give "thanks" (a facebook rip-off to give "thanks" instead of "likes"). Or recipients would want a platform to recognize volunteers by giving "thanks" in a public way.

I think this key social viral back and forth might be the starting point. If there are sufficient customers then affinity groups would use this platform to attract other volunteer or to plan activities.

What do you all think? Did you ever wants to have public way to give "thanks"?

Unknown said...

Revenue Model..

My gut instinct is the NPR model. Just enough money to fund the bandwidth and hosting and other hard cost. Everything else should be volunteer and open source driven.

I don't want any ads or the commercials. If there are sufficient non-profit companies then sponsorship might be viable.

Google adsense would be the last resort.