Harvard site has cool way for alumni to share and find service opportunities all over the world.
And she linked to a site that I found surprisingly engaging. I'm blogging about it today to encourage other organizations to think about how they promote existing service opportunities.
The homepage for Harvard Public Service on the Map is well thought-out, pleasantly designed, and packed with interesting, useful links about its core purpose. The screenshot here is just a section of the home page – click it to view a larger version of the image.
Here are just a few of the highlights from the site that I thought were worth noting:
- Interactive map shows Harvard-related public service opportunities worldwide, color coded by affiliation (alumni, students, faculty, staff).
- Basic search lets visitors find service activities by location or keyword; The advanced search function adds activity type, timeframe, and Harvard affiliation (house, school, or class year).
- Separate sorted lists show most popular or newest service programs.
- Opportunities are listed by type of commitment – volunteer, internship or regular employment.
There are a few simple Web 2.0 features to Harvard Public Service on the Map as well. For example, registered site users can "like" or comment on the more than 460 service efforts currently listed, which are tagged with sortable labels such as "public health," "prevention," "nutrition," "sustainability" and more.
As for the personal aspect, profiles show basic background and contact information about the groups and individuals posting the activities. Click here for one example.
I don't know how much traction or engagement this site is generating, nor do I know the budget or staff effort that went into programming it. There are probably other, more effective and heavily-used sites that do the same thing better in similar contexts (if you know of one, please leave a comment about it).
But I believe the approach and execution are worth considering for any organization's audience. Every institution has links to alumni, faculty, students and to other organizations that serve the public. These organizations' activities improve people's lives, but they also reflect positively on the sponsoring institutions. In other words, links to such efforts benefit many, and this site shows one way to do that.
It would be easy to find negatives about Harvard Public Service on the Map, the interface or the content, but to do so would be to miss the point. Encouraging, promoting and enhancing service offerings around the world is a deserving effort. This site may provide a service in its own right – namely, motivating other associations and organizations to activate their networks on behalf of worthwhile causes.
What is your organization doing to get the word out to your network about opportunities to serve the public?