Susan Ellis and I have created a LinkedIn Group for the discussion of virtual volunteering.
We’re hoping this will be a place where organizations that are involving online volunteers can get very specific with questions and advice about their virtual volunteering experiences: sharing what tools they use to work with volunteers online, asking questions about a particular issue they are having in working with volunteers online, getting advice on how to recruit a diversity of online volunteers, and on and on.
This group isn’t a place for basic questions like, “How do I introduce online volunteering to my organization” and others that are detailed extensively in The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, though if you would like to expand on that or another practice that is detailed in the book via this group, such comments would be welcomed!
The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook is available for purchase as a paperback and an ebook from Energize, Inc. There is also a virtual volunteering wiki in association with the book.
Feb. 12, 2014 Addendum
What I do NOT want to do is to discourage discussions on places like UKVPMs, OZVPM, and other discussion groups for volunteer management, about using online and networking tools (like SMS/text messaging) to support and involve volunteers – the practice that most of us refer to as virtual volunteering.
I had been opposed to the idea of creating an online group just for these discussions, because I do not want these discussions to be taken out of any online group devoted to volunteer management. If you have read even just the beginning of The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, you know that we chose that name in part because we DON’T want any more books about virtual volunteering, no more add-on chapters about it made to books about volunteer management, no more “virtual volunteering” as an add-on or after thought – but, rather, that using online and networking tools is integrated into all discussions about recruiting, supporting, managing, recognizing and involving volunteers, period.
With all that said, we did see a need for a global discussion about online and networking tools to work with volunteers, where discussions could be focused on any country or region. So we did start this LinkedIn Group for the discussion of virtual volunteering. I’m doing my best for it not to devolve into a “how do I involve online volunteers” discussion – we’re looking for more high-level discussions, like:
- What online tools do you use to communicate with volunteers? Just email, or do you use an online discussion group platform? And how do you like it?
- If you use Skype or other video conferencing to communicate with volunteers, individually or as a group, what advice do you have for others that might want to use it?
- What’s the most popular activity at your organization for someone to do from a home, work or otherwise offsite computer or device?
- How did you alter your volunteer policies to include Internet-related activities/communications?
So, if you use email, any other Internet tool, or even text messaging from a phone, to interact with your volunteers, or you create tasks that volunteers can do from home or work computers or other devices, I hope you will join the LinkedIn group and join in the discussions!