Mobile Tech

Orange transforming volunteering by harnessing the power of mobile

Large corporations are in the perfect position to champion change, but often times it’s “not in the budget” or simply not in line with their agenda. With the social media spotlight now shining hotly, consumers demand greater transparency from these companies — and we’re seeing changes left and right.

Orange seems to be up with the trend, and have harnessed the power of mobile to transform volunteering. In the UK, Orange provides GSM coverage to 99% of the UK population, with more than 16.442 million active mobile customers — so, they have quite the crowd-sourcing opportunity.

Announced last month, Orange launched a project to turn your down-time into social good time by introducing “snack size” volunteering options to customers through their mobile phones. Think about what you could do with those extra 5 minutes you have while waiting for the bus, or if you’re on a break!

The goal here, besides doing some good, is to help charities save thousands of pounds every year. How? Well, you could give them access to millions of people’s opinions, map local community amenities and services or even give disabled people access and insight to places in a new way.

The project is currently in its first phase, crowd-sourcing new ideas through a newly launched community at mobilevolunteering.co.uk. Their hope is for the exploration of ideas surrounding the concept of mobile volunteering through community discussions and collaborative development.

Although I’m based in the US, and cannot submit any ideas, I am able to join the community and offer feedback. I decided to join to take a look around. Everyone gets a profile, making it easy to connect with the community as well as making it easy to keep track of the ideas you’re following. Orange encourages interaction by offering up Foursquare-style badges for adding comments, filling out your bio, and fostering conversation amongst other things.

The clean site makes it easy to explore the project — they’ve really hit the mark with drawing in, and encouraging interaction within the community.

In the end, Orange’s goal is to round up their 10 favorite volunteer actions that can be completed on a mobile and develop them into one amazing app for volunteering and social good.

Stuart Jackson, Brand Communications Director for Orange at Everything Everywhere says:

“We’re taking responsibility as a company for maximising the true potential of the mobile phone – to see how it can be used to empower consumers to do acts-of-good whilst on the move.

“In trying to crowd-source these ideas, we’ll develop this concept in collaboration with top industry experts to ensure that the end product has a very real impact on UK society. It is an exciting vision that builds on our heritage of innovation whilst at the same time aims to inspire millions of people to give just minutes of their time – making a massive difference to UK society.”

Well said. My hat off to Orange — I look forward to the final 10, and I can only hope that one of the large wireless companies here in the US takes note. (I’m lookin’ at you, AT&T.)

If you’re a developer, charity or social entrepreneur and would like to join in, make sure to head to mobilevolunteering.co.uk.

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