Changing the world in your pyjamas
Help From Home is a Cardiff, UK based volunteer driven, unincorporated association that promotes and encourages participation in easy, no commitment, 3rd party run microvolunteering opportunities where a spare 10 seconds to 30 minutes is all that is needed to help out worthy causes. HFH use these microvolunteering actions to show people how they can use the spare moments in their life more impactfully.
i-genius Member and Founder of Help From Home, Mike Bright, previously spoke to i-genius about changing the world in your pyjamas, but how have things progressed since then? We caught up with Mike to find out:
i-genius: What difficulties so far have you experienced setting up Help From Home?
Mike: The initial difficulty we had back in 2008 (when we first set up) was to overcome volunteering organisation’s mindset that traditional volunteering were the only types of volunteering that could be offered to people within their catchment area. As background, one of our remits is to use the existing volunteering infrastructure to create awareness of the microvolunteering concept. When you’re up against dinosaurs who can’t see beyond the traditional volunteering arena, it takes a lot of effort to break down the barriers. I’m pleased to report that these dinosaurs are slowly but surely becoming extinct!
Mike: Actually, and crucially, the one thing we haven’t done is to seek funding that binds us to outcomes that funders want us to achieve. This gives us so much more flexibility with our remit. Basically, we are not tied to anybody to tell us what to do or when to achieve it. We can therefore change our direction mid-course to ride emerging trends, and that’s important because the microvolunteering arena is still evolving, and we can grow with it.
i-genius: What has been the biggest sacrifice you have made?
Mike: Having to go to work full time, whilst running Help From Home (HFH) in my spare time. Why is this a sacrifice? Because HFH does not bring in any money to provide a living salary, therefore I have to seek work to pay for HFH. It’s a sacrifice in respect of the time I spend in my day time job (which is unrelated to any do-good task) when I could be spending my time making the world a better place to live in. My Boss has got a lot to answer for, when he gave me my day job in the first place!!
i-genius: Why are there more Help From Home’s needed in the world?
Mike: Practically all other microvolunteering platforms do not focus on the type of actions we provide, which are mostly unskilled and which appeal to the masses. We’re a small group of volunteers, and whilst we go to bed at night dreaming of global domination, we know in reality that there’s a bigger picture out there, which we can’t possibly tackle by ourselves. The bigger picture means that more initiatives like HFH are needed to broker nonprofit micro-actions to the masses, particularly in non English speaking countries. The end result could mean that hopefully more nonprofits will realise their projects sooner, because there will be more microvolunteers to help out.
i-genius: What’s the worst business advice you’ve ever received?
Mike: The worst business advice I ever received was to be told to actually go into business! I never did, and I can see now that if I had, I would have been tied down to chasing the money, which would not have been good for being able to expand the reach of HFH, because I would have always have had to focus on a very narrow sector of society to bring that money in, namely firms who run CSR programmes. I see other microvolunteering platforms doing exactly this. They’re not interested in the bigger picture, wheras I am. I owe alot to my intuition to go my own way for the bigger picture.
Mike: Have persistence, think of the bigger picture, and run with your gut intuition. And, oh yeah, everything takes alot longer than you think it will. A case in point – we still haven’t got there yet with our global domination project!!
As the name suggests, they primarily promote microvolunteering as home based, but over time have developed various other ongoing microvolunteering projects, including:
Help From School – encouraging people to change the world within their classroom as part of a citizenship course
Help From Work – encouraging people to volunteer during their lunchbreak, without leaving their office environment
Help From Seniors – encouraging senior citizens to volunteer without getting out of their armchair
Help From Holiday – encouraging people to think about responsible tourism by volunteering before, during or after their holiday
Consultancy Service – provides advice / guidance to voluntary organisations on creating microvolunteering actions to benefit their cause.
Skills 4 You – enabling the unemployed or people currently in a job to expand their skill set via microvolunteering actions, for eventual inclusion in their CV.
To find out more about Help From Home visit the website: http://helpfromhome.org