The MUNI Helps volunteer centre has launched a new mobile app for communicating with volunteers: MUNI Helps. It not only allows anyone with a smart phone to see an overview of all requests for help that the Masaryk University (MU) volunteer centre has processed, but it also enables the centre to send notifications about requests and volunteers to change their preferences or availability for volunteering.
The biggest change that users of this app for both Android and iOS can make is switching on “volunteer” mode. Volunteers can decide themselves about what kind of activities they want to do, when, and how. “They can change the settings in their profiles, add their current locations, change their volunteering preferences, for example, from tutoring to helping with shopping, and mark whether they are an active or inactive volunteer. That is, they can say when they are willing to receive notifications about requests for help. This is useful, for example, for times when they have lectures or must study for exams and don’t want to be disturbed,” says Jiří Uher, head of the MU Public Relations and Marketing Office, about the new app’s features.
Based on how volunteers set their accounts, they can receive notifications about requests for help on their phones. Volunteer requests include tags that display the urgency of each request, how much time it will take, and what knowledge or skills it requires. The mobile app is available in English, and therefore, English-speaking volunteers can sign up to help.
In the “Where I am helping” section, volunteers can see an overview of all their activities, which can also be displayed in a calendar. For every closed request for help, a volunteer can write how it went, how much time it took, and what new things they learned. “This is not public information but feedback for our centre about whether everything is running smoothly”, explains Barbora Hauserová, the MUNI Helps project coordinator.
The app also keeps track of volunteers’ achievements; coordinators from the centre can send them awards and thanks for lending a hand. The MUNI Helps app is now available on Google Play and in the Apple App Store.
The Masaryk University volunteer centre was created during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the spring. In short order, a network of more than 4,500 volunteers was created that managed to deal with 2,500 requests for help from both institutions and individuals. Volunteers helped in hospitals, on crisis hotlines, in nursing homes, and in charities. They also babysat, tutored children, helped people with shopping and picking up medications, and delivered facemasks. A public collection rose nearly 2.5 million crowns for the operation of MUNI Helps. The centre has helped out not only in Brno and the South Moravian Region but also in many other places in the Czech Republic.