Back in 2009, Brad Wilke was working as a fundraiser for a Seattle Head Start program. Given the popularity of flash mobs at the time, he wondered if similar organizing tactics could be used to involve large numbers of volunteers — helping local nonprofits and introducing more people to volunteering in the process.
Thus was born Flash Volunteer, a web-based engagement portal for volunteering that allows users to find volunteer opportunities and create their own volunteer events to support causes they care about. The service is built by volunteers, for volunteers, and specializes in group activities such as park cleanups, trail builds, and other single-day events. It uses the power of social media to create opportunities for “Cause Crowds,” flash-mob-style volunteer events.
Now Flash Volunteer has increased its ability to engage volunteers by using VolunteerMatch APIs to pull in events from our site – where more than 90,000 nonprofits list their volunteer needs. The listings from VolunteerMatch appear on the Flash Volunteer website and on the iPhone app, available for free in the iTunes store.
“Working with VolunteerMatch to provide the opportunities, we can now make participation as easy as possible for volunteers,” said Wilke, who serves as Flash Volunteer Executive Director.
For example, volunteers can sign up to help plant a “Garden of Goo” with the King Conservation District to help with wetland restoration projects.
If working with kids is more your thing, sign up for this opportunity on the Flash Volunteer site to assist in a “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” at the Kidsquest Children’s Museum.
You can also help the homeless in the Seattle area by helping out at a 21+ live music show to raise money to purchase basic hygiene supplies.
“This latest version of our platform brings us closer to our vision of building a real-time, real-world volunteering application,” said Wilke. “We’re growing in Seattle and we hope that our relationship with VolunteerMatch will pave the way for increased adoption and expansion in other parts of the country.”