Tag Archives: internet

14 (was 13) things you do to annoy me on social media

handstopMore than a dozen things that annoy me regarding the use of social media by too many nonprofits, government initiatives and other mission-based programs:

1) You don’t post at least one item a week to your Facebook page.

2) You have created a gateway where everything you post to Facebook goes out on your Twitter feed. Never mind that every message ends up being truncated on Twitter, so that Twitter users see things like this: Join our staff, donors, participants, volunteers & allies as we march on Saturday to support the vital issue in our community regarding… with a link for more information. Most people will NOT click on that link to find out what in the heck you are talking about!

3) You don’t list every public event by your organization on the events function on Facebook, so that people can mark “interested” or “attending” and, therefore, receive automatic reminders of the event as the date approaches, or get an idea of who else is interested or who is attending. It also makes it easier for others to share those event details with others via Facebook.

4) You don’t have your organization’s full name in your Twitter profile. That means, if anyone wants to tag your organization in a tweet or wants to follow you, it will be difficult to find you, and they may even use the wrong Twitter handle, driving traffic to someone else instead of you.

5) You post only “one way” messages to Twitter and Facebook, rather than posts that encourage engagement, like questions, or posts that say “Tell us what you think about…”

6) On Twitter, you don’t participate in Tweetchats, you don’t respond to other organization’s tweets, you don’t retweet other organization’s messages – you don’t ENGAGE.

7) On Facebook, you don’t “like” or comment on the status updates of other organizations. You want them to do that for you, but you don’t do the same for them.

8) On Facebook, you don’t reply to or even “like” comments made on your status update. That means no one ever knows if you care that they’ve provided feedback on your activities.

9) You don’t thank people that share your Tweets or Facebook status updates.

10) On Twitter, you don’t spend any time reading tweets by others – you just tweet your own messages. That’s like going to a conference, shoving your brochure into people’s hands and walking away, never listening to them, never meeting anyone, never attending workshops.

11) You post far more messages encouraging donations than you post about accomplishments by your organization, things your volunteers have been up to,

12) You work with teens but don’t use Instagram.

13) You don’t experiment with GooglePlus or YouTube or Snap Chat, because you couldn’t figure out the value a year or two ago.

14) You have something awesome in your email newsletter and I want to share just that item via Facebook, but it’s not on your Facebook feed nor your Web site (except as maybe in a PDF version of your newsletter, which no one reads online) Feb. 22, 2017 addition

If you changed your ways regarding social media:

  • your donors and volunteers would feel more strongly about supporting you,
  • your donors would be more motivated to continue giving and volunteers would feel more motivated to complete assignments and take on more,
  • the media would be more inclined to contact you regarding a story or for your comment on current events,
  • you are more likely to attract new donors and volunteers,
  • your staff would become even better versed in talking about their work,
  • other organizations would be more inclined to refer others to you, to collaborate with you and to rely on you

Also see:

The dark side of the Internet for mission-based organizations

handstopOnline criticism – criticism of you, or your organization, is unavoidable. Even if your organization or program foolishly decides not to use any social media at all, in a futile effort to avoid criticism, others WILL talk about your organization online, some to criticize it, and perhaps even to spread misinformation. Your organization, no matter how small, needs to know how to address online criticism.

NTEN has a good blog on addressing online criticism and trolls: Navigating Naysayers: Managing Difficult Social Media Interactions, by Charrosé King, Senior Social Media Specialist, American Psychiatric Association. “Social media can feel like an incredibly dark place, but don’t let hate silence you or your organization’s messages that other people need to hear.”

My own resource: How to Handle Online Criticism / Conflict. How a nonprofit organization, government office or community initiative handles online criticism and conflict speaks volumes about that organization or initiative, for weeks, months, and maybe even years to come. It can even cause discord offline, among volunteers and employees. There is no way to avoid criticism, but there are ways to address criticism that can actually help an organization to be perceived as even more trustworthy and worth supporting. An organization MUST be able to honestly and openly deal with online criticism, particularly from supporters and participants. Otherwise, the organization puts itself in a position to lose the trust of supporters and clients, and even generate negative publicity — and, once lost, trust and credibility can be extremely difficult to win back.

And it brings to mind a thread I started on TechSoup called It’s not always Tech For Good. The first story is about how a VSO Volunteer from Britain working in Kenya persuaded two leaders from the Maasai tribe, a seminomadic people living in Western Kenya, to do an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit. To persuade the village chiefs to do the interview, the volunteer said that people across the world wanted to know more about the Maasai community and may even be willing to offer help. Sadly, the online event got hijacked by porn pushers. The next post, also by me, is about how location services on a smartphone can be grossly misused by others, such as an anti-abortion campaigner that uses such to push services to reach women who check-in at fundraisers for pro-choice events. the thread is still open and additional stories are welcomed.

And on a somewhat related note: Yes, Nonprofits Get Scammed, Too: Security Tips to Avoid Phishing, Pretexting, and Baiting is worth your time to read and share with your staff. “While the technology we depend on has changed over the years, people’s social behavior hasn’t. This leaves us at risk of having our goodwill exploited. In security circles we call this scheming activity social engineering. It’s an attempt to acquire sensitive information for malicious reasons through deception… Awareness and vigilance will go a long way towards protecting yourself.”

Also see:

20 Years Ago: The Virtual Volunteering Project

vvlogoThe Virtual Volunteering Project officially launched 20 years ago this month. It was the first attempt by anyone, anywhere, to research online volunteer service and document what works, and what doesn’t. I directed the initiative at its launch – and now, two decades later, I’m in a mood to reflect.

The Virtual Volunteering Project was the brainchild of Steve Glikbarg and Cindy Shove, co-founders of Impact Online (what became VolunteerMatch). In fact, Glikbarg probably originally coined the phrase virtual volunteering, back in the mid or even early 1990s. In its first two years, the Virtual Volunteering Project was funded primarily with the support of the James Irvine Foundation. Additional support in this first phase of the Project came from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Morino Institute and the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation. The Charles A. Dana Center, a research institute at the University of Texas at Austin, hosted the Project for most of its life.

How did I start on the road to becoming a virtual volunteering expert? In 1995, while working at Joint Venture: Silicon Valley, the two volunteer interns I’d taken on to build web sites for all of the initiatives we were managing said they would prefer to build the sites on their own computers back on campus, rather than at our office, because their computers were better and it was more convenient for them. They would bring their work to me on disks when they were finished. What a great idea! It worked out very well – they got to work on their own schedule, from their homes, on better computers, and I got what I needed. So I offered the option of working remotely part of the time, even most of the time, to every volunteer I recruited after that at Joint Venture. The next year, Cindy contacted me about running a new virtual volunteering initiative she and Steve had just gotten funded. “What’s ‘virtual volunteering?'” I asked. “It’s what you’ve been doing with your volunteers and talking about on USENET!” she replied.

The Virtual Volunteering Project officially launched in December 1996. It was quite rough at first; the vast majority of the programs that involved volunteers donating some or all of their time online never used the phrase virtual volunteering. In fact, that’s still true today! I remember thinking in those first several weeks that most online volunteers would be 20 something men living in Silicon Valley; imagine my surprise to find out, rather quickly, that most online volunteers were women living all over the USA – and beyond! I was also stunned at how quickly I found more than 100 virtual volunteering initiatives, most of which didn’t know about each other. With the help of online and onsite volunteers myself, I researched virtual volunteering activities, created and continually updated web pages about it, and marketed what I was learning, via both traditional press releases and frequent posts to various online discussion groups. I also involved online volunteers myself – more than 300 over more than four years. As a result, I was invited to speak at a lot of conferences and was quoted in a lot of traditional press, like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

I left the Virtual Volunteering Project in Janaury 2001, to prepare for my move to Germany to work for the United Nations to run the virtual volunteering component of NetAid, which became the stand-alone Online Volunteering service. I got that UN job because of my online activities, including participation in various online communities. In subsequent UN and international work, even when the focus isn’t virtual volunteering but, say, communications, I’ve found a way to inject at least a little virtual volunteering capacity building and involvement into the work.

Now, it’s 20 years after the launch of the Virtual Volunteering Project, which is archived here. Not much has changed in terms of best practices in virtual volunteering, the practices that make virtual volunteering effective for nonprofits, NGOs, government programs, schools and more, though there’s lots of new jargon now in the mix: micro volunteering, crowdsourcing, digital volunteering, the Cloud, etc.

vvbooklittle The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, by Susan J. Ellis and myself, is our attempt to document all these best practices over the more than three decades virtual volunteering has been happening, in a comprehensive, detailed way, so that the collective knowledge can be used with the latest digital engagement initiatives to help people volunteer, advocate for causes they care about, connect with communities and make a difference. It’s a tool primarily for organizations, but there’s also information for online volunteers themselves. It’s available both in traditional print form and in digital version. Thanks to everyone who has purchased it so far! Bonus points if you can find the sci fi/fan girl references in the book…

Also see:

Early History of Nonprofits & the Internet

Al Gore Campaign Pioneered Virtual Volunteering

Lessons on effective, valuable online communities – from the 1990s

Online volunteers created a music festival in St. Louis

Updated: research regarding virtual volunteering

Nonprofits & NGOs: you MUST give people a way to donate online

fundhuntingThe following quote is from a blog in 2013 by Sue Gardner (hi, Sue!!) of the Wikimedia Foundation, which administers Wikipedia. The quote is about how the many-small-donors-instead-of-a-few-big-ones works so well for Wikimedia, a nonprofit:

We don’t give board seats in exchange for cash… people who donated lots of money have no more influence than people who donate small amounts — and, importantly, no more influence than Wikipedia editors… We at the WMF get to focus on our core work of supporting and developing Wikipedia, and when donors talk with us we want to hear what they say, because they are Wikipedia readers. (That matters. I remember in the early days spending time with major donor prospects who didn’t actually use Wikipedia, and their opinions were, unsurprisingly, not very helpful.)

It’s not only that they have many, many donors of small amounts, rather than a few donors that give huge amounts of money, it’s also that their donors are users of their initiatives, primarily Wikipedia – in fact, many are volunteers for these initiatives.

This isn’t a new model. I worked in professional, nonprofit theater for many years, and this was their model as well; each theater had hundreds, even thousands, of donors that gave, for the most part, small amounts, and the vast majority of those donors were also performance ticket buyers. I learned that a healthy nonprofit theater has at least half of its expenses covered by such individual donors.

Of course, the many-small-donors models wouldn’t work for every nonprofit. But if your nonprofit had at least 100 clients, volunteers and/or event attendees in a year, you MUST have a way for those people to donate via your web site. There is absolutely no excuse for NOT having this way of giving, and no excuse for NOT encouraging such donations.

How about this: at least once a year, I have been ready to donate to a particular nonprofit, I’ve gone to the web site to do so, and, ta da: no way to donate online; the only way to donate is by sending a check or money order. And so, I end up not donating at all.

This happened to me last month regarding a nonprofit right here in Forest Grove, Oregon, where I live. I was going to say something to the nonprofit, but instead, decided to turn my thoughts into a blog for small nonprofits in particular. I hope they notice. I don’t have lots of money: when I donate, I’m giving up the price of a movie ticket and popcorn. Most nonprofits would claim that they would not say no to any amount of cash someone wanted to donate, including that small amount. Yet, that’s just what they do when they don’t have a way for people to donate online.

According to Blackbaud’s 2015 Charitable Giving Report, 93% of funds given to nonprofit organizations came from traditional means in 2015 – major gifts, annual funds, fundraising events, checks, snail mail and by phone. Only 7.1% of donations to nonprofits came in online. HOWEVER, online giving has been steadily growing over the last few years, up 9.2% from 2014 to 2015, and 14% of online giving in 2015 originated on a mobile device. I’ve no doubt the numbers are just going to keep going up. A good summary of the Blackbaud report is here. In addition, a study of younger supporters (age 20-35) found that 56% preferred donating online via an organization’s website.

The excuse I hear by most nonprofits for not having a way for someone to donate online?

We don’t want to have to lose some of the donation to processing fees. 

Let me be clear: you are losing ALL of the online donation by not having a way for people to donate this way to your organization. Those people that go to your web site and can’t find a way to donate online don’t say, “Oh, I’ll write a check then.” Nope – they just don’t give at all.

As of the time of this blog’s writing, Paypal charges 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction on any donation ($0 to $100,000) to a registered nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status. Wouldn’t you rather get most of a donation than none of it?

There’s no service that doesn’t have some kind of processing fee for donations to nonprofits, at least not in the USA. Some services, like Paypal or Google Wallet, just charge a transaction on every donation, but don’t provide any features, like a customized web page. Services like First Giving charge more, but also provide more services, like tracking and managing donor information and easily integrating into whatever donor database you are already using. Which should you use? That depends on the size of your nonprofit’s budget, how many donors you are expecting to donate online and how much information you need from those donors. Have a look at what other nonprofits in your community are doing in terms of allowing for online donations, and don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call and ask for advice (we need nonprofits collaborating together MORE!). Also, talk to your financial institution, the bank or credit union where you deposit your organization’s funds – they may have options as well.

And if you are looking for a magical third party crowdfunding site that will bring in lots of donations for your organization merely by your inputting all of your information and asking for money, forget it – that’s not how successful online fundraising works for 99% of nonprofits. Rare is the donor who goes to a third party web site with no idea of who he or she is going to give money to.  Most nonprofits that raise money through online means are raising that money through their own web sites, and raise that money from people in their communities that are familiar with their work and want to support them, from people that have attended the organization’s events, or from people that have seen an ad on TV or radio.

More: 

Excellent advice from someone else on how to encourage donations online to your organization

More advice for what should be on your organization’s web site

women-only hours at community Internet centers? why?

This is a blog post I made on 31 August 2009, on my first, now long-gone blog host. Just finally managed to find it at archive.org

women-only hours at community Internet centers? why?

Back in August 2003, I had the pleasure of co-hosting an online discussion at TechSoup regarding Gender and the Digital Divide. It was a discussion regarding the barriers that keep women and girls away from computer and Internet-related classes and community technology centers (telecenters, Internet cafes, etc.). One of the things that came up in this discussion back then was that the barriers for women and girls to tech access are even more pronounced in developing countries, where family-obligations and cultural practices keep large numbers of women from ever stepping foot into a community technology center, telecenter, Internet cafe, etc., whether nonprofit or privately-run.

I was reminded yet again of this recently while corresponding with an Afghan female colleague: her employer has blocks on hundreds of web sites, including several she needs for her own career and skills development. But using an Internet cafe is not an option for her, and thousands of other women in Kabul like her, because:

    • her family would never allow her to go to such a place without a mahram (a male relative she could not marry, such as a brother, uncle, or father, acting as a safety and social escort), and most men aren’t willing to devote a few hours a week to accompany a female relative to an Internet cafe.
  • given the atmosphere of many public Internet sites — the posters in the wall, what’s being looked at on some of the computer screens by male patrons, men coming and going — it’s not an option for her to use a public Internet site even with a mahram.

My friend — and thousands of other women in Kabul — need a place that’s either devoted only to women Internet users, or, a public site that has women-only hours. I have yet to find either using Web searches and posts to various online communities.

But it’s not just in Kabul. Cultural practices keep women out of public Internet sites in communities all over the world.

I appreciate so much that I have the freedom where I live to walk into any public place with Internet access, and not have to worry about any social or legal ramifications as a result. But I also have to acknowledge that not every woman on Earth does have this freedom and, until they do, community technology centers run by nonprofits and Internet cafes run for-profit need to think about their accommodations for women and girls.

Public Internet access points in Kabul, elsewhere in Afghanistan, or in other developing countries, can encourage more women to use their services by:

    • creating women-only hours at a time that is appealing to women, or creating a women-only space with its own supervised entrance/exit and its own bathroom
    • providing women-only classes
    • staffing women-only hours, women-only spaces or women-only classes by women volunteers or women paid staff members, and with just one or two male staff members (if any) closely supervised and never, ever alone with any woman (staff or customer)
    • providing childcare for women using the site (it’s okay to charge a nominal fee for this)
  • a computer user space free of any images that might be deemed offensive to a conservative culture

How else can community technology centers, telecenters, Internet cafes, etc. in conservative areas be more accommodating of women and girls? Let’s hear from you.

— end of original blog —

This blog lead to the creation of this web page, Women’s Access to Public Internet Centers in Transitional and Developing Countries, which I’ve just updated.

Also see

Enhancing Inclusion of Women & Girls In Information Society

Virtue & reputation in the developing world

Judgment & reputation online – and off

Too many volunteer matching web sites?

Here is a phrase I think I could live the rest of my life without reading or hearing again:

A new web site has been launched to match volunteers with non-profit organizations/NGOs.

I think I’ve read or heard this phrase 20 times in the last 20 years.

In the USA alone, we’re swimming in volunteer-matching web sites. Nationally, we’ve got  VolunteerMatchIdealist/Action Without Borders, HandsOn Network, Volunteer Solutions and All for Good/United We Serve/usaservice.org (and more, but those are the most well-known – and there are even more that have come and gone!). Many USA cities have their own volunteer-matching web sites as well. Plus, online social networking sites allow organizations to recruit volunteers as well.

Why is that a bad thing, to have so many platforms trying to serve the same organizations and volunteers? Because the vast majority of volunteer-involving organizations don’t have time to put their volunteering opportunities into each of those services, but a volunteer may use just one or two of those services and, therefore, will miss out volunteering opportunities posted to platforms he or she didn’t use. The result: less volunteer matching, not more.

I like hearing about new sites launched in other countries where such web sites don’t already exist and serve a region specifically, that are in the local language, or sites focused on a particular type of volunteering: financial management and fundraising, communications and marketing, web site development, language translation, web site development, micro volunteering, etc. Those are needed! And I really like when existing volunteer matching web sites announce that they will allow volunteering opportunities to be tagged as virtual or online, and allow their databases of opportunities to be searchable regarding such.

Before you develop yet another volunteer-matching web site:

  • Make sure there isn’t one already in existence that well serves the communities you are targeting. That means visiting existing volunteer matching sites and assessing what audience you think the site is not serving, or what service the site is not offering, but is very much needed.
  • Ask volunteer-involving organizations you want to use your service if they would use your service, instead of or in addition to what they are already using online. Ask them what they need from your service. Build your site based on their needs – not on what you think they need.
  • Get agreements with a core-group of volunteer-involving organizations, committing them to use your newly-launched service. Their involvement will add credibility to your effort. Representatives from at least some of this core group should serve on your advisory committee for this volunteer matching service.
  • Don’t create a roster of available volunteers. It never works – volunteers won’t keep their information up-to-date. A roster of volunteering opportunities, where volunteer choose tasks to be involved in, always works better than a roster of volunteers that organizations search through looking for available experts.
  • Be ready to say how this service is different from what is already out there – to the press, to donors, and to the organizations that already provide similar services.

Why not pursue the development of an online resource the volunteer-involving sector really needs! For instance:

  • a site that lists all of these volunteer-matching sites, and allows users to comment about each, rate the effectiveness and usefulness of each, etc. The site could also offer advice to both organizations and to potential volunteers on how to use volunteer-matching databases, to get the most out of them.
  • a site with a database of organizations, where each can update their information to talk about the impact volunteers have for their organizations and clients. The information would never be out-of-date, and the information could help other organizations get ideas on new ways to involve volunteers.
  • a site that offers a searchable database allowing organizations to share their volunteer policies, forms and other materials as models for other organizations. Organizations would be thrilled to use such a database to find sample volunteer orientations, volunteer applications, and other policy documents.
  • a site that offers legal and professional commentaries about state and national laws that could (and do) affect the involvement of volunteers.

I would use all of those sites!

Also see:

Using Third Party Web Sites Like VolunteerMatch to Recruit Volunteers

NGOs are using the cloud – but there are barriers

(by Patrick Duggan, TechSoup Marketing & Technology Writer; original post here)

In 2012, TechSoup Global, in collaboration with our partners around the world, conducted a survey of nonprofits, charities, NGOs, and social benefit organizations around the globe.

We wanted to better understand the current state of their technology infrastructure and their future plans for adopting cloud technologies.

With more than 10,500 respondents in 88 countries, we’re pleased to add this data to our ever-evolving resources for nonprofits, NGOs, foundations, and those who support them.

What Did We Find?

NGOs are using the cloud. 90 percent of respondents worldwide indicated using some type of cloud technology, from “lightweight” services like email and social networking to “heavy weight” services like databases and web conferencing.

There are barriers. Our survey found that lack of knowledge is the biggest barrier to additional cloud adoption, cited by 86 percent of the global respondents. Lack of knowledge was consistently reported as a barrier across geographies and organization sizes.

We also found that:

  • 79 percent of respondents said the biggest advantage in adopting cloud technologies is administration-related, followed by cost savings and improved opportunities for collaboration.
  • 53 percent of respondents reported they plan to move a significant portion of their infrastructure to cloud-based systems and services over the next few years.

How does your NGO compare? In the report, we examined what cloud applications NGOs are currently using and plan to use in the future, on a global and regional level.

If you’re wondering if your fellow organizations are using cloud-based tools like office and accounting programs and collaboration software, our report has the answers.

And more! Read more about our key findings. Learn about the current state of cloud computing at NGOs around the world, what these organizations see as the challenges and advantages of cloud technology, and how your own organization’s technology stacks up.

 

Read the Report 

Why We Conducted the Survey

We had three objectives in mind when we conducted this survey:

  • Gauge how NGOs are responding to cloud computing in terms of current use
  • Measure what NGOs perceive as the barriers to, and advantages of, cloud computing
  • Better understand these organizations’ plans for adopting cloud technologies

In short, our hope is that understanding NGOs’ perspectives on the cloud will not only provide insights for NGOs but will also help TechSoup Global and others better support nonprofits and NGOs in making informed decisions about whether cloud solutions are right for them.

————-

Also see these results of survey regarding volunteer management software.

Before you create that online profile… do you want to keep it?

Each time you create a profile on any service — Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Twitter, whatever – you have to use an email address for that profile.

Choose that email address carefully, because it could determine whether or not you get to keep that profile once you leave your organization or agency.

More and more, staff members across organizations – not just the marketing department – are creating online profiles and participating in online groups and social media as a part of their work. An organization’s IT staff might be participating on the TechSoup Community to talk about their approaches to choosing hardware or tools to ensure system security. An agency’s human resources staff may be on an online community for other HR managers, to discuss the latest legislation and court rulings affecting the workplace. An agency’s program director may be on Facebook and Twitter to interact with people participating the agency’s services, classes, whatever.

When that staff member leaves the organization or agency, the tech waters can get quite muddy over who owns those online profiles. Often, it’s not the content of the profile that determines who owns such – it’s what email address was used to register that profile.

If there is any chance you will want to keep any online profile after you leave an organization, don’t register that profile using your organization’s email address.

In an article by Society for Human Resource Management, entitled, Ownership of Social Media Accounts Should Be Clarified in Agreements, Jim Thomas, an attorney with Minor & Brown in Denver (whose No Funny Lawyers Blog has been listed as one of the top 25 U.S. business law blogs according to LexisNexis) offers advice regarding company ownership of employee online activities. He notes in that article:

The clearest case for employer ownership will be an employee who uses other employees to maintain his or her accounts,” Thomas stated. “Beyond that, indicators will be use of employer e-mail addresses, employer standardized or coordinated formats (this is what your page should look like) or approaches to social media (coordinated campaigns); employer-provided photos and/or content; employer-provided passwords or passwords that are shared with the employer; employees who are allowed to use employer computers to use social media during working hours. Not that any one of these or even all of them will be dispositive.

The best advice is to have frank conversations with your supervisor, and to get clear policies from senior management, regarding who owns employee social media activities, and how accounts will be handled if you depart the organization. And you will have to have more such conversations and agreements every time your supervisor or senior staff changes, if policies aren’t in writing.

Volunteer online with TechSoup

I’m doing some work with TechSoup, a nonprofit based in San Francisco, and I’m recruiting online volunteers to help in two roles:

Wiki Contributor/Editor – online opportunity
This is in support of a wiki regarding Online Community Engagement. The goal of the wiki is to provide essential information and links related to online community engagement, particularly regarding the cultivation of communities of practice / knowledge networks. Please visit the wiki to learn more. We’re looking for one – three online volunteers ready to help with proofreading (correction of spelling, checking links, etc.) and adding resources. Volunteers should have excellent writing skills, be an expert at finding resources online, and be ready to see a task through to its completion.

Online Community Forum Subject Expert
Offer advice to nonprofits via the TechSoup online community forum regarding software use, database choices, using tech tools to engage and support clients, remote staff and volunteers, FOSS options, accessibility, building staff capacities, community tech center management, IT security – whatever your area of tech expertise! Frequent community forum participants may be invited to become community moderators, committing for at least three months (with possibility of renewal) to ensuring various forum branches have fresh information every week. Volunteers should have excellent writing skills and an understanding of how nonprofits use at least some aspect of computer or Internet tools.

These are virtual opportunities, and it’s not just for two volunteers – multiple volunteers can help in each of these roles.

Want to apply? In addition to the requirements already stated, you should also have a good understanding of how people and organizations communicate online, have excellent, reliable Internet access, commit to at least two hours a week (10 hours a month), and commit to at least three months in this role.

To apply, click on the volunteer role title and express your interest (via VolunteerMatch).

I’m happy to sign off on any paperwork a volunteer might need for a class. And if you want to call it an internship, I’ll be happy to call it such.

So, why have these roles been reserved for volunteers? Why do I want volunteers to help in these tasks?

  • Fresh ideas from volunteers – there’s just nothing like them. They are unfettered ideas. And such ideas are needed!
  • More involvement of volunteers means more opportunities for people and organizations to participate in decision-making – and this can create more ownership by the community TechSoup seeks to serve.
  • It provides opportunities for professional development; many people are looking for activities that will look great on their résumés, or for a university-level class that requires a practicum. This is a way to help a few folks in that quest – just as many of us have been helped along the way.

Here’s more about justifications for involving volunteers – something I think any organization to do before recruiting volunteers.

Share! Spout! Debate! Discuss!

You’re work or volunteer at nonprofit or an NGO or a government agency – some sort of mission-based organization. Or you want to.

Therefore, you have things to say, or ask, about the Internet, or computers, or smart phones, or any tech that plugs into those. YES, YOU DO!

There are some terrific threads on TechSoup awaiting your comments and questions, like:

GooglePlus – forcing users to use it?

UNV campaign: #actioncounts

Scheduling Volunteers for Therapeutic Riding Center

Library computer system needed for equipment reservations and checkout

Bohemian broadband & fossmaker culture

small nonprofit seeks affordable, reliable automated reminder call service

How to start a computer distribution program for low-income/needy people

Will Facebook kill your web-based online community?

Writing for the web

Which apps would people like?

what video conferencing tools have you really used.

Or start your own thread! You have things to say, to discuss, to share, to whine about when it comes to how you use the Internet, or computers, or smart phones, or any tech that plugs into those. YES, YOU DO!

You can also:

View the TechSoup community by subject matter/branch

View the TechSoup community by latest post