It’s the two-year anniversary of the publication of The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, available for purchase in paperback or as an ebook (PDF) by Energize, Inc. It’s written by me and Susan Ellis, and is the result of more than 20 years of research and experience regarding virtual volunteering, including online micro volunteering, crowd sourcing, digital volunteering, online mentoring and all the various manifestations of online service. Did you know that virtual volunteering was a practice that was more than 20 years old? You would if you read the guidebook!
Susan and I wrote The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook in such a way that it would be timeless – as timeless as a book about using computers, laptops, smart phones and other networked devices could be. We didn’t want it to be out-of-date in just a few months. That’s not easy when it comes to technology, but we gave it a try – and upon re-reading my own book, I was shocked at how successful we were! Three years later, it still reflects what works, and what doesn’t, in working with volunteers online. In fact, I use it as a reference myself – there are times I’m asked a question about working with volunteers online, or facing a dilemma regarding working with volunteers myself, and I go back to the book to see what we said – and, tada, there’s the answer! Oh, to have the memory of Sherlock Holmes…
The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook details the basics for getting started with involving and supporting volunteers online, but it goes much farther, offering detailed information to help organizations that are already engaged in virtual volunteering with improving and expanding their programs. It offers a lot of international perspectives as well.
The book includes:
- Detailed advice on virtual volunteering assignment, including one-time “Byte-Sized” tasks (micro-volunteering), longer-term, higher-responsibility roles and virtual team assignments.
- A thorough look at various practices for screening and matching volunteers to assignments, with an eye to getting the most capable volunteers into your volunteering ranks and preventing incomplete assignments or burdensome management tasks
- How to make online volunteer roles accessible and diverse
- More details about how to work successfully with online volunteers, so that they are successful, your organization benefits and volunteer managers aren’t overwhelmed
- Ensuring safety – and balancing safety with program goals
- Respecting privacy of both the organization and online volunteers themselves
- Online mentoring
- Blogging by, for and about volunteers
- Online activism
- Spontaneous online volunteers
- Live online events with volunteers
- The future of virtual volunteering and how to start planning for oncoming trends
There’s also a chapter just for online volunteers themselves, which organizations can also use in creating their own materials for online volunteers.
In conjunction with the guidebook, we’ve maintained the Virtual Volunteering Wiki, a free online resource and collaborative space for sharing resources regarding virtual volunteering. We are seeking a partner university or college that could recruit an intern from among students studying in its post-graduate program to keep this wiki updated.