PETALING JAYA: Let’s just say that Jonathan Dason is thinking out of the box when it comes to acts of charity.
In an age where technology makes it easier to connect communities, he saw the potential for volunteering to be more than just manual labour.
From his observations, many charity organisations are in need of those with professional skills for their projects.
That sparked the idea for GoBantu, a platform which connects skilled volunteers to non-profit charity organisations.
“For example, we have successfully matched an agricultural expert to a nursing home which wanted to use the land in their compound to grow vegetables.
“We’ve also matched an accountant to a student-led complementary education organisation, and a graphic designer to a local education NGO to help with their marketing,” said the analyst at a professional services firm.
Along with three other friends, Dason, 24, started GoBantu seven months ago as they noticed that many charities were facing a talent gap while many potential do-gooders were without information on how to offer their help.
“Due to lack of funds, these charities find it hard to attract and retain the best talent. This is especially true for grassroots or locally based NGOs,” he said.
The opportunity, he said, lies in roping in workers or academicians who have the ability to make an impact beyond manual labour.
“The people who have the skills and experience to make a meaningful impact may have other commitments and so are unable to contribute to these causes for an extended period of time, or are unaware that such volunteering opportunities that just may be in their neighbourhood,” he said.
He said GoBantu, which has recruited two new members, have so far successfully connected 15 volunteers to relevant organisations needing their particular skill set.
The team members, none of whom are above the age of 25, would bear the costs of running the organisation from their own pockets, he said.
Currently, he said, the team primarily leverages their personal contacts and network to source for volunteers.
He added, however, that in the future, they intend to improve their website and matching system, and to grow their database of skilled professionals who want to volunteer.
“We want to make committed and skilled volunteering a norm in Malaysia,” he said.