You’ve probably heard of microloans. Let’s say a gentleman in Peru needs $1000 to expand his internet café. Through Kiva.org, you can loan him $100. All he needs is another nine like-minded people to do the same to get enough for the expansion. Over time, he pays the money back, money that’s deposited back into your account which you can loan out again if you’d like.

Microvolunteering applies this same concept to volunteering. Sparked connects nonprofits with online volunteers. The volunteer projects vary widely. Some are looking for suggestions, such as how to get more people engaged in their blog, what a mobile app for their nonprofit might do, tips for using social media, how to improve their website. Depending on what you teach, Sparked may provide some interesting group projects for your students.

For example, if you teach web design, small groups could offer suggestions to a nonprofit on how to redesign their website, perhaps even offering the nonprofit some templates to choose from.

If you teach writing, one nonprofit would like to send a thank-you note to their donors and they’re looking for suggestions on what it should say. Sounds like a great project for a writing class!

If you teach psychology, student groups could, based on their knowledge of persuasion, provide suggestions on how an organization could get more people to donate to their cause.

If you teach marketing, there are several nonprofits looking for help in that arena.

With the different kinds of nonprofits and the different kinds of help they need, you’ll likely find one that fits your discipline. What a great way to show students the real-world applications of what they’re learning!

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