Back in November, NCVO research told us that micro-volunteering is on the increase. The Institute of Volunteer Research published a report: “The value of giving a little time: Understanding the potential of micro-volunteering“.
Their report defined micro-volunteering as “bite-size volunteering with no commitment to repeat and with minimum formality, involving short and specific actions that are quick to start and complete.”

“This research found that micro-volunteering is not new in itself, but is changing. People have less time to give and are volunteering in new ways and, often facilitated by developments in technology that enable people to participate immediately and independently of time and place…
The research found that micro-volunteering will not suit everyone nor every organisation. It highlighted that organisations need to think carefully about whether and how micro-volunteering fits in with their strategic direction, and whether the term ‘micro-volunteering’ is the best way for them to brand these small actions. When it is appropriate, and if the challenges identified in our research can be overcome, the benefits for the individual volunteer and the organisation of micro-volunteering can be significant.”

Today, NCVO published guidance for those in volunteer management interested in offering micro-volunteering opportunities. Kristen Stephenson, NCVO’s Volunteer Management and Good Practice Manager blogged:

What we say in our guidance released today is that in order to maximise the potential of micro-volunteering we need to steer clear of management becoming disproportionate. If organisations micromanage their micro-volunteering they run the risk that the role becomes something the volunteer didn’t want or expect and they leave.

Kristen identified the following as quick tips:

  • Adopt a more flexible approach
  • Ask people whether they want to stay in touch
  • Take a joined up approach
  • Consider shadowing
  • Plan ahead
  • Use online tools and technology
  • Think about risk but be sensible

More information and the full guidance on Kristen Stephenson’s blog post.