In the old days, people who wanted to change the world would gather together in parks and homes, in streets and plazas, and have their voices heard.
Organizations pooled their resources to spread awareness of these events with flyers, ads, op-eds, parties, and the like.
Today, in contrast, speaking out about an issue is as simple as “friending” a Facebook page.
This year a new term, and not a particularly endearing one, is kicking around the Web to describe the trend: “Slacktivism”.
Evgeny Morozov, a fellow at the Open Society Institute, has been an early promoter (and critic) of the concept:
[Slacktivism is] feel-good online activism that has zero political or social impact. It gives those who participate in “slacktivist” campaigns an illusion of having a meaningful impact on the world without demanding anything more than joining a Facebook group.
Slacktivism couldn’t have happened without technology to enable it. In this regard, it shares a lot in common with VolunteerMatch.
And that’s not all: if you had to give slacktivism a mission statement, it might sound a lot like ours: “Helping good people and good causes to connect.”
But that’s really where the comparisons end.
VolunteerMatch is different from slacktivism services because we’re using technology to help nonprofits and volunteers create enduring relationships based on real-world contributions of time and energy (and often skills as well).
Whether these contributions are on-the-ground service roles like working in a soup kitchen or reading, or whether they are “virtual” opportunities like providing Web design or grant writing help from home, the support VolunteerMatch volunteers provide can often be measured in sweat rather than clicks or page views.
Less talk, more action. VolunteerMatch: the anti-slacktivists.