Microvolunteering - and how to grow it

We learned it’s Microvolunteering Day today. We are powered by microvolunteering!

While some definitions say you should be able to microvolunteer anywhere, anytime, we define it by the amount of commitment required and the barrier to entry. We feel community repair fits the definition: you can show up for the first time, agree to be safe, get paired with an experienced person and start helping out. (And you can leave whenever you need to or want to!)

We’ve logged over 11,000 volunteer hours in the UK since we started. We believe every repair is a courageous act of microvolunteering for/with another person.

Who are our fixers?

Since the big new release of Fixometer 4.0 in July, fixer volunteer have shared a little more data with us. The more groups invite their volunteers, and use the RSVP functions on the Fixometer, the more accurate these numbers will be.

Age: The mean age of an active microvolunteer on the platform is 47 years.

Countries: When fixers RSVP to events - we can log their participation by city, country. Here are the leader tables by country - measured in hours volunteered

  1. :uk: United Kingdom 1667
  2. :canada: Canada 535
  3. :sweden: Sweden 477
  4. :belgium: Belgium 258
  5. :it: Italy 177

Gender Our free-text and optional gender field leaves us a bit in the dark here. Over a third of volunteers don’t answer the question. Of those who do, just under one-fifth are “F” or “Female”. (Bonus points to the person who answered “GNU/Linux”.)

Recruitment and retention

We find word of mouth and/or having volunteers recruit others is one of the best ways to grow the numbers of volunteers.

We’ve been vigilant about not creating too many barriers to entry for microvolunteers. We have straight-forward safety guidelines, and we’re just finalising a print welcome document.

Over the years, we’ve learned that first-time volunteers like to be able to come and check out events before making a commitment. But it’s great for them to have a calendar of upcoming events so they know they can come back and commit.

We’ve also learned that pairing up newbies with friendly, experienced volunteers is crucial to retaining people after the first event. As is the trip to the pub :wink:

Share your top tips for recruiting and retaining microvolunteers on this thread!

Features that could help hosts

We’re wondering what data might help hosts track and learn from volunteer engagement.

What would you like to know, or see, at a group level? Would you like to know who came once and then disappeared? Would you like to identify volunteers who were active for a while and have gone quiet?

Would you like to have more data per event on participation?


I don’t suppose anyone has a ‘Micro policy agreement’ for micro-volunteers that covers Health & Safety, Equality & Diversity and maybe something about general behaviour/expectations using as little text as possible? Was thinking of nicking relevant bits from lots of different templates but if someone’s done it already that would be even better! Cheers.

(I suppose this potentially merits a new thread, or there is already I skipped over)

Great question @Alistair_Brown. We do two things:

  1. formally ask new volunteers to sign up to our Safety Guidelines. This covers the bare minimum.
  1. we give London volunteers a lovely, print copy of this welcome document - which includes issues of equality, diversity and community values:
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Thanks @Janet, that’s really useful!

Please let us know how you use and/or remix this content :slight_smile:

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