June 28, 2011

Sparked – Volunteering For People With Busy Lives

Sparked is a website that makes it possible for everyone volunteer and help out their communities thanks to something it calls “microvolunteering.” Instead of stalking ex-boyfriends on Facebook or zoning out in front of the TV, people who use Sparked can use their free time – however limited it may be – to volunteer their services to worthy charities.

The reason why most nonprofits require volunteers to donate at least a half a day of their time to a project is because it usually takes that long to get set up and going. The difference with Sparked begins with how volunteer opportunities are set up and managed. Sparked works with nonprofits and charity groups that break up larger projects into individual tasks that potential volunteers can complete in anywhere from two minutes to two hours. Many of these tasks can be accomplished at home, which allows people to volunteer remotely and help out organizations in far off locations.

Tell Sparked what causes you’re interested in and what skills you have to offer, and the web-app will quickly generate a list of challenges for you to choose from. Once you’ve signed on, you can pick a challenge that looks interesting and go right to work. Tasks range from the simple – like filling out an online survey or answering basic questions – to the complicated. People with HTML skills can help build websites for various charities, for example, while bloggers and English majors can donate their time by writing grant proposals. Tasks are easy to share, too, allowing you to quickly spread the word to your online friends about any worthwhile charities or causes you’re currently helping out.

For people who have been hesitant to sign up for volunteer opportunities in the past out of fear that they wouldn’t have enough time to devote to whatever project they joined, Sparked is a creative solution. People with 10 minutes, 10 hours, or 10 days of free time can all find ways to help out when they sign up for Sparked.

Practical Uses:

  • Use your lunch break to help build a database of food banks in New Orleans
  • Spend your weekends volunteering for a worthy charity in Africa
  • Put your HTML skills to good use by creating a website for a non-profit group
  • Spread the word online about nonprofit organizations whose work you admire

Insider Tips:

  • Create a profile on Sparked and get to know other people on the site
  • Each organization’s nonprofit documentation can be downloaded on the site
  • Sparked is completely free to the nonprofits that list their projects
  • Organizations can close their challenges once they have been completed

What we liked:

  • Sparked eliminates the common excuse of not having enough time to volunteer
  • Volunteers can browse Sparked and look for tasks that interest them
  • People can put their unique skills and talents to work
  • Sparked makes it easy for volunteers to share information about what they’re doing with their followers online

What we didn’t like:

  • Nothing


Company Info:


  • Free


  • 5 out of 5 (wow)

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