Future Forward: The Extraordinaries Brings Micro-Volunteering to the Web

The Extraordinaries new Web widget offers more access to micro-volunteering opportunities with nonprofits

More than a decade since the popularization of  the Internet, innovation is still taking place faster than ever. Now one of the most interesting applications for volunteer recruitment and management — previously available only for the iPhone — is coming to a Web browser near you.

The Extraordinaries is a “micro-volunteering platform” that allows organizations to engage supporters via small actions that supporters can take. The concept — crowdsourced volunteer work in the model of Mechanical Turk — is unique. By enabling nonprofits to market their opportunities to volunteers as well as provide tools to complete those opportunities directly from the tool,  a new category of volunteer work is slowly being born.

Some tasks can be completed anywhere and at anytime. For example, AmeriCorps Alum created a task asking its supporters to provide feedback whenever their supporters might have a few minutes to spare.

Other tasks are better suited for the mobile phone. For example, KaBoom, the playground builders, asks its supporters to help build a map of possible projects by taking photos of playgrounds in their communities.

Currently, eight different types of tasks are available for organizations to choose from.

Recently, The Extraordinaries also released an embeddable Web-widget, allowing organizations to engage their supporters right from their Web site.  For example, Big Cat Rescue allows its supporters to catalog images for its archives.

What do you think? Does your organization have tasks that are suitable for micro-volunteers? If so, will your organization give The Extraordinaries a shot? Let us know.