Monthly Archives: May 2014

Incorporating virtual volunteering into a corporate employee volunteer program

A new resource on my web site:

Incorporating virtual volunteering into a corporate employee volunteer program 
(a resource for businesses / for-profit companies)

Virtual volunteering – volunteers providing service via a computer, smart phone, tablet or other networked advice – presents a great opportunity for companies to expand their employee philanthropic offerings. Through virtual volunteering, some employees will choose to help organizations online that they are already helping onsite. Other employees who are unable to volunteer onsite at a nonprofit or school will choose to volunteer online because of the convenience. This resource reviews what your company needs to do, step-by-step, to launch or expand virtual volunteering as a part of your employee volunteering program.

Inspired by my recent webinar with Kaye Morgan-Curtis, of Newell Rubbermaid for VolunteerMatch: Virtual Volunteering: An Untapped Resource for Employee Engagement.

Anger motivates volunteers as much as sympathy

For years, during my workshops on volunteer engagement, I have half-jokingly said I have never volunteered out of the goodness of my heart or to be nice – because I’m not at all a nice person – and have, instead, volunteered because I’m angry about something. I have used this as a way to introduce audiences to the plethora of motivations of volunteers, to help them create better recruitment and engagement schemes.

Now, I have some science to back me up!

Someone sent me this link today: “Anger motivates volunteers as much as sympathy.”  The authors of the study are Dr. Robert Bringle and his students Ashley Hedgepath and Elizabeth Wall at Appalachian State University.  

And it’s not the first study that’s said this: Ilana Silber published “The angry gift: A neglected facet of philanthropy” in 2012. 

It’s a mistake to think that all volunteers are motivated only by kindness or selflessness. There are all sorts of motivations for volunteering. People volunteer because they:

  • like the idea of being associated with the particular organization or activity
  • want experience to put on job applications
  • want to meet people, as friends or for their social or business connections
  • think the activity looks fun
  • like the people that have invited them to volunteer, or like the people volunteering
  • are curious
  • are bored

and, yes, because they are angry about something – about how many discarded pets are at shelters or women’s lack of access to reproductive health information or domestic violence or barriers to girls in STEM-related careers or the condition of the environment and on and on.

And all of these are GREAT reasons for volunteering. Do you welcome all of these volunteers at your organization?

Also see:

Making certain volunteers feel unwelcomed because of your language

Do you welcome people with your language?

Screening Volunteers for Attitude

Mission statements for your volunteer engagement

Welcoming immigrants as volunteers at your organization

Advice for unpaid interns to sue for back pay

The outcry against unpaid internships continues. The latest is from HuffPost College:

Four Ways You Can Seek Back Pay For An Unpaid Internship

Amid its advice is this:

New York has also taken a stronger stance against internships at nonprofits. Federal rules say unpaid internships in government agencies or nonprofits are “generally permissible,” but New York (PDF) says nonprofits still must pay their interns except under limited circumstances. Namely, certain nonprofits may have unpaid interns enrolled in educational programs, as trainees receiving formal instruction, or as volunteers who do completely different tasks than paid employees. The state has an even stricter 11-part test (PDF) for internships at for-profit companies.

Nonprofits and NGOs: you need to be paying attention to this controversy. You need to be thinking about why any task at your organization that is being done by a volunteer – and that includes unpaid interns – beyond “We don’t have money to pay someone to do that.” You need a mission statement for your volunteer engagement and you need to be talking about the value of volunteers far beyond dollar/Euro or other monetary value for their hours!

My other blogs on this controversy:

Note that the links within these blogs may not work, as I moved all of my blogs from Posterous to WordPress a few months ago, and it broke all of the internal links. Also, some web pages on other organization’s sites have moved since I linked to such, and I either don’t know or haven’t been able to find a new location for the material.

ICTs, Employability & Social Inclusion in the EU

In my last blog, I talked about how, at long last, my paperInternet-mediated Volunteering in the EU:  Its history, prevalence, and approaches and how it relates to employability and social inclusion, had been published. My research was for the ICT4EMPL Future Work project undertaken by the Information Society Unit of the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.

The ICT4EMPL Future Work project aims to inform policy of new forms of work and pathways to employability in the European Union mediated by ICTs – Information and Communications Technologies. The ICT4EMPL research project is in the context of of implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy and the Digital Agenda for Europe. For more information, see Skills & Jobs, Digital Agenda for Europe.

The ICT4EMPL Future Work project developed, produced overview reports on the state of play of crowd-sourced labour, crowdfunding, internet-mediated volunteering and internet-mediated work exchange (timebanks and complementary currency). These activities were explored in relation to key themes of opportunities for entrepreneurship and self employment, skills and social inclusion, and transition from education to employment for young people.

In addition to my paper, here are other papers published as part of the ICT4EMPL Future Work project, and almost all of them talk about volunteering in some way:

Wish they had a way people could comment on the papers. Online discussions about these topics would further our learning about them.