Too many nonprofits, NGOs, government community programs, etc. are still not using the Internet beyond email and looking up a phone number on a web site. Many managers of volunteers in particular still avoid the use of networking tech. I wish this wasn’t true, but I even hear the foot-dragging from seasoned volunteer management consultants: I really need to start using this stuff, I guess…
If you or your organization still hasn’t fully embraced the Internet to support and involve the community, including your volunteers, here is what volunteers — and perhaps other potential supporters, such as donors, and maybe even city officials, the press, etc. — may be thinking about your organization:
- This organization must not be very well-run or be very well-organized.
- This organization may be trying to hide something.
- This organization doesn’t have anything to offer teens, 20-somethings, young professionals, etc.
- The important decisions that happen at this organization happen behind closed doors with just the senior staff and the board. The community, including volunteers and clients, aren’t involved in decision-making.
- This organization is stuck in the past. I want to be involved in an organization that’s very much aware of the present and is ready for the future.
I’ve been beating the use-the-Internet-in-your-work drum since 1994, and find myself frustrated that, 17 years later, there are still so many nonprofit staff people, including coordinator of volunteers, who won’t really use the Internet — and even have other staff members and volunteers reading and responding to their email!
It’s by no means the entire nonprofit sector that is holding out: I think most nonprofits DO get it. There are thousands and thousands of nonprofit organizations and others doing fantastic work, even pioneering work, in using a range of online tools, including so-called online social networking, to engage a variety of people. These organizations are seen by volunteers as responsive, as really listening and acknowledging that they have heard what volunteers are saying. And volunteers love to talk about their experience with such organizations to their friends, family and colleagues — online and face-to-face.
How can you get to get on the other side of the digital divide, if you aren’t already? How can you get your entire organization there, especially those hardcore holdouts?
I’ve developed a “Rapid Development Plan” to get any org – & the coordinator of volunteers – using the most essential online tools ASAP. It’s the featured training for Jan. on e-volunteerism. It is a day-by-day plan, doling out tiny learning activities every day that will rapidly build up anyone’s skills regarding getting the most out of networking tech. It’s my last effort to reach the tech holdouts!
Subscribe to e-volunteerism to access the training ($45), or you can pay for 48-hour access ($10).
Also see these free resources: