What Big Data Means for Skilled Volunteering

Big Data is a valuable consequence of the digital revolution. As more processes come online (paying bills, interacting with friends) we can collect and make use of data to make better decisions.

The realm of skilled volunteering is (mistakingly) seen as distinctly unsexy. It’s abstract form and adjunct communications fail to harness the true life changing affect a good pro bono experience can have.

Data can mobilise

By making use of social media data, big data provides the opportunity to get the right skills and passion to the right organisations – and not just charities, this model can be easily used to mobilise communities to take a more active role in public service provision. In the UK 97% of charities and social enterprises are unable to afford professional services such as accounting, marketing or web-design. This impedes intended impact on critical issues like health, unemployment, offending and the environment – issues that affect us all. The public sector is facing increasingly grim prospects – with an ageing population who are searching for purpose.

Sharing is caring

There are 90 organisations serving a proportion of 280,000 non-profits in the UK all in different ways. These organisations have invested time, energy and money to build trusted communities, but operating in silos restrains the volunteer’s access to organisations where their skills and passions can be effective. We propose to build one big framework where skills can pass seamlessly.

55% of ALL volunteers are professionals; their skills are not utilised by non-profits. Many pro bono projects go wrong because skills, personality, passion and expectations are not matched – bad news spreads quickly. 95% of GWYGA volunteers come back to take on another project. Why? We data mine and use a Bayesian learning algorithm to predict the perfect pro bono match. We know what makes a good pro bono match. Unifying opportunities will increase the chances of returning a strong match, having a great experience and generating more participation on both sides. And what’s more, we want to give this to infrastructure organisations – free of charge! Moreover, competitive advantage is increasingly determined by your data – why wouldn’t you want to be part of the mainframe?

Helping charities make strategic use of skilled volunteers

To go one step further, GWYGA has built a smart diagnostic tool to point non-profits to the right projects in a strategic sequence, so an individual is able to make the biggest difference with their limited time. We would share with other organisations so they are able to direct resources appropriately. Our online matching costs £34 per match, including impact evaluation. Cost decreases with volume and usability. Put simply: Scope + Shared expectations + Understanding needs + Commitment = explosive impact + strong viral co-efficient.

The Result: changing the face of civic engagement

Big Data REALLY has the ability to mobilise millions of people to help charities and communities build strong infrastructures. Providing everyone with the opportunity to learn new skills, connect with a cause they care about and cultivate relationships.  Communities benefit from stronger, better-equipped organisations to meet a range of complex and diverse needs and the public sector can slash costs without cutting quality. Professionals gain contacts, insights, LinkedIn recommendations and progress their careers/businesses. Companies gain learning and development opportunities, as well as the unique portal to research and develop their products and services.

Big data is a serious strategy for changing the face of civic engagement and progressing solutions to some of the most puzzling social problems we are facing. Sign up for Giving What You’re Good At and join us on twitter @GWYGAGLOBE to keep up to date with the Big Data revolution.

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