In hearing about The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, you may have noticed two things:
- My co-author, Susan Ellis, and I don’t talk about the guidebook as a revision of The Virtual Volunteering Guidebook that we wrote back in the 1990s. That’s because this new book was written from the ground up – we didn’t merely update that previous guidebook. While I think most of what we wrote in that first book remains valid, in terms of still being helpful advice to work with online volunteers, this new book provides substantially more information and reflects just how integrated the Internet is in our lives now versus back in the 1990s.
- That standout word in the title: Last.
What do we mean by this being The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook?
What we don’t mean is that there will or should never be a further need to write or talk about the latest developments in engaging volunteers online.
What we do mean is that, from this moment on, we hope that talk about virtual volunteering won’t be segregated to a separate book or separate chapter at the end of a book about volunteer management. Our dream is that this is a turning point regarding talk and training about volunteer engagement, and
- any book about volunteer management, whether it’s a book about basic principals in general, group volunteering, episodic volunteering, skills-based volunteering, teen volunteering, whatever, has advice about using the Internet to support and involve volunteers integrated throughout the material. For instance, episodic volunteering, online, is called micro volunteering, yet workshops and other resources regarding episodic volunteering rarely talk about it – we hope that exclusion stops NOW.
- any workshop about some aspect of volunteer management, whether it’s about the fundamentals of volunteer management, recruitment, risk management, adults working with children, whatever, fully integrates advice about using the Internet as a part of those activities.
In short, NO MORE SEGREGATION OF INTERNET-MEDIATED VOLUNTEERING. Virtual volunteering should not be an “add on” – not only in a book or training about volunteer engagement, but also, not in any volunteer engagement scheme at any organization. In fact, our dream is that we no longer hear about onsite volunteers as one group and online volunteers as another, separate group – how about we talk about volunteers, period?
Involving volunteers online is a practice that’s more than 35 years old. There are at least several thousand organizations using the Internet to support and involve volunteers. Actually, Susan and I believe virtual volunteering has, in some way, shape or form, been adopted by a majority of nonprofits and NGOs, whether they know it or not – we base this on the research that’s been done by others, our own research, and our observations in our extensive work with nonprofits. It’s even reflected in this discussion group regarding virtual volunteering on LinkedIn. And it’s based on this reality that we’re calling for full integration of virtual volunteering into any book or training about any aspect of volunteering.
Order information for The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook.
Also see our virtual volunteering wiki. Whereas the guidebook is written in a timeless manner as much as possible, focusing on suggested practices that the authors believe do not change, for the most part, this wiki will continually evolve as tracking and networking tech tools change, as new research is conducted, and as substantial news about virtual volunteering is announced.