Volunteer Match

Clay Shirky popularized the notion of “cognitive surplus,” the idea that in modern life people have hours of free time to engage in extracurricular activity, provided they can break away from the television. Shirky was thinking about how this notion applies to the Internet, where web users can devote their time to crowdsourcing activities that can serve civic as well as selfish functions. For those of you who might tend toward the former, but have no idea how to connect to good causes on the web, volunteermatch.org provides the perfect forum to match enthusiastic would-be volunteers with organizations committed to civic engagement. The site is used by 50,000 nonprofit groups and so far has made 3.7 million referrals for its 54,000 signed-up members.