I talked to Bootcamp graduate Mevan Babakar who was awarded funding to kick-start her new project, Who's In, a website dedicated to linking up volunteers and organisations.
An estimated 15.2 million people volunteer at least once a month in the UK. That’s nearly 3 times the size of Scotland’s population alone! But the commitment can often be difficult. Many projects and organisations ask you to dedicate 6-12 months of your time. Many of these opportunities are unpaid or only cover expenses A long-term, unpaid commitment is a privilege that many people in society don’t have.
Imagine if you could get involved in volunteering without having to commit to long-term projects?
Bootcamp graduate Mevan Babakar has set up a website for just that!Mevan’s dream was to combine volunteer projects and crowdfunding into a website that streamlined this process in a way that allowed organisations or projects to source volunteers online. and streamline this process in a way that allowed organisations or projects to source volunteers online. She pitched her volunteering platform ‘Who’s In’ during F Factor, a competition in which 10 young entrepreneurs compete to win £10,000. Mevan’s pitch wowed the panel, even Simon Cowell! And earlier this year the project launched!
‘Everything I had learnt about organising and charities up until that point convinced me that we could be harnessing tech better’, she said. ‘I made my case to the crowd, and I won £10,000 to kickstart Who’s In to build a tool that helps organisers find volunteers’.
Mevan linked up with Tom Neill, who was working on a similar project. Tom realised that while many people want to get involved with volunteering, they are often confronted with barriers. For some it’s the commitment; for others it might be that companies aren’t vouched for by other volunteers. He wanted to make a website that would help volunteers find projects that fit them and help organisations run more effective projects.
Together Mevan and Tom worked through through all of the challenges and hiccups that come with getting a project off the ground. But, after months of hard work, they have managed it!
The first project that used Who’s In to attract volunteers was the Woodberry Down Community Clean Up day in London. The clean-up, which took place in April 2018, involved new website volunteers who got together to help clear unwanted weeds and shift soil and woodchips.
‘I will always have a soft spot for the first ever project’, she explained. ‘After 2 years of thinking about Who’s In, here I was finally going to do some volunteering as a result of the platform. It was a day I’ll remember for some time’.
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