Due to the current climate, it was clear that there was a need to use our innovation time to create something genuinely useful which would show the opportunity of tech in a crisis.
The beauty of this innovation time was that we were able to work together, so we thought, what better way to develop and challenge our skills than to put this invaluable time towards creating something that was genuinely useful during these crazy times. What better way to show just how much tech can help than in the middle of a global pandemic. We wanted to help, and quickly saw a need for our skills by creating a volunteering platform. Our recent work with The British Red Cross to launch their community reserve volunteering program inspired us to flex our coding muscles and take a stab at creating a platform unlike anything we’d ever done!
Which turned out to be a lot easier said than done!
By Frontend Developer, Kevin Borrill and Server Team Lead, Tom Yeadon.
Even though we hadn’t created a volunteering platform before, we did have experience creating a ‘matching’ platform that allowed project developers that planted trees to connect with people who want to fund their work (and ultimately grow millions of trees all over the world). Which was so cool to be a part of! This project proved super inspiring to work on and gave us a wealth of knowledge to apply to our innovation time project.
We had to put some feelers out and see if the need even existed. We did find similar volunteering platforms, but they weren’t simple, easy to adopt or ready to use, and a lot of them were focused on getting funding for charities rather than individuals being able to volunteer. So we zeroed in on our cause. Developing this platform seemed extremely relevant considering the current situation and the amount of people that are ready and willing to volunteer. Additionally to the individual, so many corporations are encouraging their employees to volunteer but a way to manage it didn’t exist… until now!
Working together to create a platform this big was fun as it could have a massive impact for so many people but also allowed us to try out new tech and smash it out quickly!
The end result was a web application, built on React (JS) and Laravel (PHP), that allowed individuals to sign up as a volunteer or alternatively for organisations to sign up with volunteering opportunities. Our simple idea proved to be a labour of love but was well worth it!
Doing this meant that volunteers could look for a particular opportunity that an organisation had created. Something along the lines of, a recycling charity that wanted volunteers to help with litter picking.
As innovation time only allows us to work on a project for a week, we did think of ways that this could be expanded in the future by allowing individuals to post volunteering opportunities. An example of this could be an elderly person that needed help with their garden on an ad hoc basis.
We like to think that there still are a lot of ways that this platform could be utilised and provide a solution for not only volunteers looking for opportunities. But for organisations needing volunteers and also a way to manage it.
Allowing volunteers to find real opportunities posted by credible organisations.
Having the ability to update your profile to let organisations know when you are available to help with their volunteering opportunities.
Allowing organisations to find volunteers that are ready and eager to help as well as providing a platform that can help manage the process.
Being able to search for volunteers or opportunities based on location or skill set required.
Working towards something which has the potential to help so many people was really rewarding. It was interesting to see what we could produce in such a short timeframe too!
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