Micro-Adhocracy: Macro-Engagement

Doesn’t matter if you’re Bill Gates, Sheryl Sandberg or Jane Doe, you’ve got 24 hours a day to get anything and everything done. Today’s volunteers, squeezed by a tight economy, mom and dad both working while seeking a “balanced” life, find opportunities to spend time outside of family and job scarcer and scarcer. And when available, that time rarely exceeds an hour or two here and there.

In response, many non-profits and associations have created a micro-adhocracy by offering volunteering in micro-chunks thus creating opportunities for time-stressed members to make a meaningful contribution to the cause without a major commitment of time. Here are a few examples:

These programs share a common set of characteristics:

  • Of the Moment – Tasks can be taken on as the opportunity arises…not much planning required for the volunteer.
  • Discrete and/or Small – The task may take as little as 15 minutes.
  • Easy to Participate – The task typically does not require an application process, screening or training period and does not require an ongoing commitment by the volunteer.
  • But most importantly, the task Matches the Individual’s Passion and Desire for Meaningful Action – an essential motivator as identified by the Decision to Volunteer.

One might consider micro-adhocracy a macro-management nightmare, but there are a number of new tools available to help coordinate and direct the process:

Bottom line, a robust micro-adhocracy significantly expands the opportunities for members to engage in your organization on terms that meet their need for flexibility, brief commitment and desire to move the mission. Over time, those micro-efforts snowball into macro-engagement and, with the right encouragement, larger volunteer commitments.

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