Flash Volunteer Programs
Organized by neighborhood and focused on grassroots-style volunteer efforts, Flash Volunteer leads the way for the next generation of service-minded citizens. With the development of our second-generation engagement platform (FV2.0), we intend to move community service opportunities off the desktop and into the hands of potential volunteers who want to discover and share their upcoming events in real-time while on the go. Built on a map-based interface that utilizes a binary event organization system, FV2.0 allows users to post, discover and sign-up for events with minimal hassle.
To create a Flash Opportunity, all you need to get started is an email address and a phone number. And then we streamline the rest of the process by requesting only the following essential information:
- Name of your opportunity
- Name of organization or event organizer
- Number of volunteers needed
- Date, time and address of opportunity
- 140-character opportunity description
- Option to share via Facebook and Twitter
Once your opportunity is posted, a green lightning bolt appears on our map. As Flash Volunteers arrive at the event location, they check in via our mobile app and are prompted to share their status via their FB and Twitter feeds. Once the specified maximum number of volunteers is reached, your lightning bolt turns gray. When a volunteer leaves the event location, they check out and the system automatically logs their hours and a description of their service (pulled from the event info) in a holding account associated with their phone number and/or email. If opportunity is still active, lightning bolt goes back to green. Once event date/time has passed, lightning bolt disappears. Flash Opportunities can also be turned on and off by the organizer if it is an ongoing need (e.g. every Thursday from 1-5pm we need people to sort food at the food bank).
If users want to see their service history, they just enter their phone number/email and they get a straightforward, printable overview of their participation to date. We also prompt them to create an account and provide additional information about volunteer interests and skills that become part of a searchable database for vetted (nonprofit, etc.) users. This is also where people can adjust their notification settings so we can ping them (via push notifications or SMS) when a green lightning bolt appears in their vicinity. Users can also filter the map by time of upcoming event (right now | tomorrow | next week, etc.).
We believe this platform and the tools associated with it will help make volunteerism fun and engaging, lowering barriers to participation and encouraging people to make a habit of their efforts.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Most recently, we were one of five organizations nominated for Seattle Weekly's Best of the Web 2011 Awards in the category Best Nonprofit Website. We were also selected as KEXP's May 2011 Nonprofit Community Partner, which helped boost our site traffic and number of registered users.
Currently, we are in the process of developing version 2.0 of our platform and need $30,000 to complete ALL development for the website and related smartphone applications. This would allow us to launch here in Seattle while providing the opportunity for communities around the country to start their own versions of Flash Volunteer via our built-in, user-friendly scalability tools.