One of the most annoying things from my experience in the Netherlands is the lack of a centralized volunteering platform that lists all volunteering causes and initiatives on local or national levels. Therefore, if I wanted to volunteer, I would have to jump from one website to another, usually sending emails asking if the activities listed were still relevant, if there were any spots available and if Dutch was required. Needless to say, the process is very inefficient, therefore there is a need for a centralized, up-to-date platform that users can easily interact with in the search of volunteering opportunities.
An example of a suitable solution could be a Dutch version of TimeHeroes, a Bulgarian social platform that encourages and supports volunteerism, charitable organizations and personal development. There are many non-profit organizations in Bulgaria seeking volunteers to help in their initiatives and TimeHeroes manages to connect the two. Furthermore, volunteering initiatives can be organized by both organizations, as well as volunteers.
The way the platform works is by connecting volunteers and volunteering initiatives, or causes, to each other and to the organizations that depend on them. Users engage with the platform of TimeHeroes to manage and build their volunteering profile, to find local volunteering opportunities, and to generate interest within their community for organizations and events that are important to them. The more volunteering events the users attend personally, the more points they collect and those points are reflected in the overall TimeHeroes volunteer ranking.
Benefits for organizations
TimeHeroes allows for organizations (and users) to create a profile where they fill out details regarding their missions and values, but they can also later post blogs and share those with the rest of the community. In that way, TimeHeroes offers new and value-added ways to benefit causes by increasing the visibility of non-profits and by helping them to build their public presence. Additionally, TimeHeroes hosts a page with “Talents”, containing a list of volunteers who are masters in specific skills, thereby allowing organizations to find the most suitable person by themselves.
Benefits to users
When becoming a member of the TimeHeroes community, users don’t just sign up for a website, but to rather be part of the greater good. TimeHeroes aims to connect like-minded individuals with a drive to do good for their communities and to become the best version of themselves possible. Furthermore, TimeHeroes allows users to create teams with their family members, friends, colleagues where to compete with other teams for getting ahead in the rankings. Lastly, similarly to the benefits for organizations, by listing the skills that the volunteers are masters at, they can get contacted by organizations that are in need for them and thereby broaden their experience.