Updated: research regarding virtual volunteering

For the first time in a year, I’ve updated, on the virtual volunteering wiki, a compilation of research and evaluation reports regarding virtual volunteering, including studies on the various different activities that are a part of online volunteering such as online activism, online civic engagement, online mentoring, microvolunteering, or crowd-sourcing, etc. These are not opinion or PR pieces – these provide hard data, case studies, etc.

When I first started researching virtual volunteering, back in the 1990s, there were no academic studies of virtual volunteering, that I could find. Now, it’s becoming a robust field of study. However, note that many research articles and case studies I have identified don’t use phrases like virtual volunteering, or even volunteers – they talk about unpaid online moderators, or social media activists, and other phrases. It can make researching research about working with online volunteers difficult! If you have any additions for this list, at any time, please feel free to submit in the comments.

Note that not all articles I’ve listed have links – many of the research papers are behind paywalls. If you want access, university libraries and large public libraries might be able to help you, but you will have to go onsite for access.or research date order.

vvbooklittleMy take away as I read these academic articles and case studies: so much of what they say confirms what Susan Ellis and I promote in The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook.

2 thoughts on “Updated: research regarding virtual volunteering

  1. Hannes Jähnert (@foulder)

    Hi Jayne! Thank you for updating this usefull resouce for the debate about online volunteering. I have an hint and a question:

    The hint: The latest Volunteer Monitor for Switzerland (Freiwilligen-Monitor Schweiz 2016) contains a chapter on ‘volunteering in the internet’. It shows that round about 25% of swiss people are online-volunteers… (only a brief summary and the charts are available – http://sgg-ssup.ch/de/freiwilligenmonitor)

    The question: Do you know any research about online corporate volunteering? I can’t find more than the State of the Worlds Volunteering Report of UNV that mentions online volunteering and corporate volunteering as trends of the 21. century volunteering.

    Regards from Berlin

  2. jcravens Post author

    >>Do you know any research about online corporate volunteering?

    Hey, Hannes! I don’t know of any research being undertaken on virtual volunteering via corporations – as in employees from companies serving as online volunteers. When/if such is published, I find out about it via my many GoogleAlerts – provided they use any of the keywords virtual volunteering, virtual volunteers, online volunteers, digital volunteers, microvolunteers, microvolunteering, etc. Or if someone talks about it via the ARNOVA discussion group.

    I would say Hewlett Packard pioneered online volunteering by employees, via its telementoring / e-mentoring program (I heard it called both). Here’s an early article:
    Intel did one in the 1990s as well, but I’m relatively sure it happened later.

    A glance over the news section on the virtual volunteering wiki would lead you to more examples of such programs:


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