Before I begin, let me just say that this is a review of an iPhone application, not the concept of micro-volunteering. The idea of using your technology to perform small but necessary tasks to help out not-for-profits has a lot of positives, but there are definitely some drawbacks as well. For an examination of some of the issues, check out Leonie Shank’s article ‘Micro-volunteering: Fast-food for the Big Society?‘
Volunteer from your iPhone
You can do such a lot with an iPhone. You can manage your finances, learn how to bake a cupcake, buy and sell on eBay, or whittle away the hours playing Angry Birds. And now, with Orange Mobile’s new application, Do Some Good, you can also use your phone to engage in micro-volunteering activities to benefit your community.
There’s no financial commitment or charitable donations involved here; even the app itself is free. You also don’t need to commit a lot of time. Most of the activities are designed to be done in four minutes or less, requiring you to add information to a database, fill in a feedback survey, add locations to a map, or complete a range of other short tasks using your mobile phone.
Over the past couple of weeks, for example, I’ve used the application to answer a wellbeing survey to help shape the services offered by Samaritans. I’ve added our neighbourhood parks to the Outdoor Play Map, and I’ve taken photos and donated them to an image bank of pictures that charities can use free-of-charge in their awareness-raising materials.
If the warm fuzzy feeling of doing good by doing these small tasks isn’t enough for you, the application also allows you to work towards virtual badges and eventually real music rewards through the Orange Rockcorps collective.
Like many others before it, this application is let down by the strength of my mobile internet connection. O2’s poor signal definitely makes it more difficult for me to add to maps or submit photos when I’m out and about. However, at home, on a wireless connection, the application is much easier to use.
I was also hoping that new opportunities would be added regularly – but over the past three weeks at least, the potential actions have remained the same. There’s room for improvement in both speed and content, then. But, as I’m writing this on May 11, the users of this application have spent a total of 24 days and 20 hours completing 8952 actions to benefit charities and not-for-profits in the UK.
And I think that’s a pretty good use for the iPhone.
Download from iTunes
Developer: Orange UK
Released: 30 March 2011 (Version 1.0)
Star rating: 4.5
First published on iPhoneAppCafe.com. Happy to answer comments here or there.