Lots of people are eager to do volunteer work, but there are many logistical challenges in the way. The Web-based tools that were used as part of the Obama campaign allowed people to easily sign up for shifts doing phone banking, canvassing, bringing food, etc. This capability could easily be extended to non-profits across the country, most of whom don't have the funds or technological expertise to stand up such a site.
My employer (IBM) and no doubt other organizations would be interested in supporting this idea, and with a public/private partnership, it could be a very modest government investment with a very visible and important return.
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