skill-based volunteering · Volunteering

No one runs in a Skill Marathon!

iVolunteer Mumbai pioneered the Skill Marathon engagement wherein seventeen volunteer projects were completed out of nineteen. A committed team of seven NGOs (including the hosting organization – iVolunteer) and twenty five Volunteers took part in making the engagement a highly successful one. By drawing inspiration from this length of success the Bangalore counterpart had its very first miniature version of this engagement last month.

So what is this Skill Marathon? It is a platform where volunteers could meet NGOs and volunteer their skills to complete volunteering projects preferably in a day’s time. This platform invariably minimizes follow ups on the part of the NGOs or the coordinating organization – iVolunteer and increases speed in project completion.

The term Skill Marathon did indeed turn puzzling for some of us. Like how a volunteer trainer for our GYAN sessions (catering to small group of NGO professionals) initially remarked that it would be fun to run! Later to her delight the trainer learned that it was referred to the group effort of volunteers in completing a series of skill based projects. On the other side one of the volunteers stated as to how the term Skill marathon drew her to the engagement else the info-mail would have landed in her trash can!

As the Bangalore team decided to go small the Skill Marathon engagement was planned with a group of five NGOs and seven volunteers. Social media and mass email marketing services were handy in locating volunteers with designing and content writing skills. Brochure design and development was the chosen project as it was a common volunteering need amidst the participating NGOs. Volunteers and NGOs were connected in prior to the engagement. The engagement day entailed discussions between the NGOs and Volunteers and ended with first drafts of the brochure designs being completed either digitally or through doodles on paper.

A few of the NGO did carry forward as Impact Project – where the time duration for project completion had a longer time frame. There were also other learning’s to be taken forward for the next Skill Marathon. For instance, to connect the volunteers to the NGOs way in advance for outlining project requirements; being more diligent in selecting NGOs and insist that they be present on the engagement day to guide the volunteers and the like.

This was really a unique kind of a volunteering engagement in ways such as:

  • Volunteering in groups can be highly motivating with a lot of peer learning. (After all man is a social being.)
  • NGOs get a platform to interact with each other and benefit from a wider pool of skilled volunteering resources.
  • It cuts down time on follow-ups on both the sides of the volunteer / NGOs thus saving time and energy on project outcomes.

As skill based volunteering brings the corporate and the social sector together by bridging the skill gaps in the latter, Skill Marathon is an attempt to make this form of volunteering more engaging to both the volunteers and the NGO Professionals.

A glimpse of some of the Volunteering projects conceptualized & completed as part of Skill Marathon (both at Mumbai & Bangalore)

  • Newsletter design
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Product Designing
  • Content for Website
  • Marketing plan
  • Banner designing
  • Annual report designing
  • Editing PPT
  • Brochure design and development

Anticipating future Volunteering projects for Skill Marathon engagements:

  • Translation from local language to English and vice versa
  • Logo design
  • Photography/Video Editing
  • Creating a Cause Marketing campaign
  • Designing a Volunteer Management policy
  • Blogging
  • Editing of corporate presentation pitch for fundraising
  • Setting up a crowd-funding platform
  • Info-graphic

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