Tag Archives: online volunteers

Request to all those training re: volunteer management

Are you teaching a volunteer management 101 class, where you talk about the basics of successfully managing volunteers?

Are you going to teach a workshop on how to identify tasks for volunteers?

Are you going to teach a workshop on how to recruit volunteers?

Are you going to teach a workshop on how to keep volunteers engaged/volunteer retainment?

Are you going to teach a workshop on how to recognize/honor volunteers?

If you said yes to any of these questions, then here’s a thought. Actually, it’s a very strong suggestion: you absolutely should include virtual volunteering, whether or not you ever say the phrase virtual volunteering. You absolutely should talk about how to use the Internet – email, a web site, social media, third-party web sites – in each and every aspect of those basics of volunteer management. No exceptions. No excuses.

Consider this: no high-quality marketing workshop about event promotion would not talk about the Internet. No high-quality HR seminar or webinar would talk about worker recruitment and not talk about the Internet. No high-quality management class about better-supporting large numbers of employees in their work would not talk about digital networking tools. So why do those that work with volunteers settle for volunteer management workshops, even on the most basic subject, that don’t integrate into the class the Internet use regarding supporting and involving volunteers?

I hear a lot of excuses for consultants and other workshop leaders who don’t talk about Internet tools in a course regarding the management of volunteers:

  • The volunteer managers I’m working with don’t work with volunteers that use the Internet or text messing
  • The volunteer managers I’m working with are at organizations focused on the arts or the environment or animals or homelessness and therefore don’t need to talk about the Internet or text messaging
  • There’s a separate workshop for talking about digital tools
  • The volunteer managers I’m working with have volunteers that are over 55

ARGH! Not one of those excuses is valid for not integrating talk of the Internet throughout any volunteer workshop addressing basic topics like recruitment, retainment, task identification, etc. NOT ONE. In fact, I think anyone who attends a workshop on working with volunteers, especially a volunteer management 101 course, whether hosted by a volunteer center, a nonprofit support center, or a college or university, whether online or onsite, should ask for at least a partial refund if virtual volunteering is not fully integrated into the course (it’s either not mentioned at all or is briefly mentioned at the end of the class). There is NO excuse for this, it shows a lack of competency on the part of the workshop leader and it’s time to demand better!

As Susan Ellis and I note in The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, virtual volunteering should not be a separate topic amid discussions about volunteer engagement and management. Instead, virtual volunteering needs to be fully integrated into all such discussions and trainings. No more segregation at the end of the book or workshop! The consequences of not integrating Internet use into volunteer management 101 workshops? It ill-prepares people for working with volunteers. It also immediately contributes to the stereotype that nonprofits are out-of-touch and old-fashioned.

vvbooklittleWe called it The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook not because we don’t think there will be more to say about virtual volunteering in the future, not because we don’t think there will be new developments on the subject, but because we really hope it’s the last book focused only on virtual volunteering, because we hope all books written about working with volunteers, whether in general or regarding a very specific part of the management of volunteers, like mentoring or risk management or recruitment or board member support or whatever, will now fully integrate the use of the Internet/digital tools in their suggestions. We hope that every workshop on any aspect of volunteer management, and every certificate regarding the management of volunteers, will fully integrate the various uses of the Internet in their suggestions. There’s no excuse not to!

Online volunteers created a music festival in St. Louis

Everyone pictures virtual volunteering as remote volunteers that sit in front of a computer or tablet or smart phone, typing and clicking, interacting only online and undertaking mostly techie tasks. But something I learned early on when I started researching virtual volunteering back in 1996 is that it’s actually a very human thing, that often leads to very personal non-computer-related activities and connections.

twangfestMore than 20 years ago, some members of an online discussion group, Postcard2 or P2, an email-based gathering place for people to talk about a particular type of music – alternative country – decided to create their own nonprofit and host a weekend of concerts in St. Louis to feature bands performing the kind of music they love, which is rarely played on the radio. It became an annual event, called Twangfest. And in June 2016, Twangfest will host its 20th event milestone.

These founding members of this music festival were dispersed across the USA, and most saw each other face-to-face only once or twice a year. But they spent time together, online, every week, often every day, for a few years. They had become close friends who shared a passion, and they channeled that passion into an onsite event that’s one of my favorite examples of what virtual volunteering can lead to.

I was a part of the discussion group starting in 1996, just as a lurker, and sometimes, more than 100 messages would be posted in a single day. I wrote about Twangfest, and the community that spawned it, back in 2000 for the Virtual Volunteering Project. I got to go to the event in 1998 and 1999, and I still meet with people I met via P2 – many are still dear friends. Here’s part of the description of the discussion group from some point in its history:

This list began as an offshoot of Postcard, the Uncle Tupelo list, and was created for people who wanted to discuss a wider range of music, including (but not limited to) alt.country, country rock, hard country, bluegrass, honky-tonk, insurgent country, roots rock, and hillbilly music We also discuss a wider range of topics, including the music’s forerunners and historical background, the sociology of the music and its listeners, and contemporary business practices that make the music possible. Many of the 600+ subscribers to this list are ordinary folks who love this music. The list also includes musicians, writers, radio and record label folks, and others who work in the music business, who bring an interesting perspective to the subjects… Years of argument and agreement have created a sense of community on P2. List members meet up at musical or other venues in their home towns or as they travel. 

Note that it never says anything about virtual volunteering. The intention of this group was never to create a music festival and a nonprofit, and even with those creations, no member of the group was calling it virtual volunteering. Yet, that’s what it was. Some volunteers took leadership roles, becoming members of the board of directors, identifying places to advertise, recruiting volunteer designers, negotiating with venues, and approaching potential sponsors. Some volunteers took on micro tasks – like me: I was an on-call volunteer, ready to answer questions as needed about preparing nonprofit paperwork and coming up with phrasing for the web site and press releases to make sure people knew this wasn’t just a music festival, that it was a nonprofit organization working to preserve and promote the unique tradition and culture of Americana music. The nonprofit never divided people as online volunteers and traditional volunteers – all were just volunteers (and in this case, just means solely, not merely, so please, no hate mail).

I’m stunned that it’s been 20 years since Twangfest started! But, then again, virtual volunteering is a practice that’s more than 35 years old!

Also see:

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

Updated: research regarding virtual volunteering

vvbooklittleThe Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, a book decades in the making, by Susan J. Ellis and myself. Tools come and go, terms come and go, but certain community engagement principles never change, and our book can be used with the very latest digital engagement initiatives and “hot” new technologies meant to help people volunteer, advocate for causes they care about, connect with communities and make a difference. It’s available both in traditional print form and in digital version.

Keeping volunteers safe – & keeping everyone safe with volunteers

I am thrilled to have just discovered that some of my favorite resources for helping to keep volunteers safe, and keeping everyone safe with volunteers, are now available for FREE – just download them!

One is Kidding Around? Be Serious! A Commitment to Safe Service Opportunities for Young People. It discussed “risk relevant characteristics” of adolescents and children – knowledge that was especially helpful when I was creating and advising on online mentoring programs -, offers a realistic, effective risk management process for dealing with young people, and reviews how to approach different service scenarios involving young participants. If you have young volunteers working together in particular, this book is a MUST read.

Another resource that is now free to download is Screening Volunteers to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse: A Community Guide for Youth Organizations. There are explicit guidelines on interactions between individuals, detailed guidance on monitoring behavior, advice on training staff, volunteers and youth themselves about child sexual abuse prevention, and exactly how to respond to inappropriate behavior, breaches in policy, and allegations and suspicions of child sexual abuse. I really can’t say enough fantastic things about this book.

And still another resource is Safe to Compete: An Introduction to Sound Practices for Keeping Children Safer in Youth-Serving Organizations. This document from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, published in 2013, is a framework for youth-serving organizations to guide their development of a sexual abuse prevention program.

Combine these three books with Beyond Police Checks: The Definitive Volunteer & Employee Screening Guidebook by Linda Graff, available from Energize, Inc. (but not for free), and you’ve got a solid, more-than-basic understanding of risk management in volunteer engagement activities. I really can’t say enough fantastic things about Graff’s book. It completely changed my view of safety in volunteering programs, both for clients and for volunteers themselves – the over-reliance on police checks for safety continues, sometimes with tragic consequences.

Three of these resources are “old”, however, I have had no trouble whatsoever easily adapting their recommendations to online scenarios with volunteers (virtual volunteering). The “old” books were a wake-up call for me regarding the vulnerability of teens, women and people with disabilities, and I carried that new knowledge into my recommendations regarding virtual volunteering, starting in the 1990s and continuing to this day.

And if you are promoting virtual volunteering, digital volunteering, micro volunteering, whatever, these books are a MUST read before you utter another word!

Also see:

Building a team culture among remote workers: yoga, cocktails & games

Workforce.com has an outstanding article from February of this year, This Party’s Electric: Culture, Cocktails and Remote Co-workers, about some creative, effective ways companies have created a sense of team among remote workers. This article is about paid employees, but these practices would also work for those engaging online volunteers, in many scenarios.

The article notes that:

  • All 70 of the employees at FlexJobs, a telecommuting job service, work virtually, and many employees have never met in the same room, in-person. To build team culture, the FlexJobs leadership team uses collaboration technology to come up with fun ways to help employees develop relationships outside of work, including a twice-monthly virtual yoga class over Skype run by an employee with a yoga certification, and a trivia-themed happy hour using Sococo, an online virtual workplace, where employee teams gather in virtual rooms to brainstorm answers to questions posted by the CEO. “You would be surprised by how well it all works,” said Carol Cochran, FlexJob’s director of people and culture.
  • Katie Evans, senior communications manager at Upwork, an online talent marketplace formerly known as Elance-oDesk, created a “get to know you” exercise, and had remote employees submit three facts about themselves. She shared the facts anonymously with the team, then employees met using Google Hangouts video to guess which facts went with which person. “I thought it would last for 30 minutes, but it lasted two hours,” she said. “Everyone had a lot of fun.” The party made her realize that you don’t need to be live and in person to build company morale, and you don’t need to use complicated technology to make virtual celebrations fun. “The value is in the face time and storytelling, not the platform,” she said. Now she hosts quarterly all-company parties and smaller teams have begun using collaboration tools for team coffees and weekly “rocks and roses” meetings where everyone shares their best and worst moment of the week.

The key in these and other examples from the article is that these remote workers do already know each other, to a degree, through work – they work together already, they’ve interacted enough to know each other’s names and roles.

vvbooklittleFor more advice on working with remote volunteers, or using the Internet to support and involve volunteers, check out The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook. Tools come and go – but certain community engagement principles never change, as the aforementioned Workforce.com article confirms. Successfully working with people remotely is a very human endeavor that people who are amiable, understanding and thoughtful tend to excel in.

UNV announces Online Volunteering Award 2015

UNLogoToday – 30 November 2015 – the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) program announced winners of the UNV Online Volunteering Award 2015, celebrating both volunteers and volunteer hosting organizations on the UN’s Online Volunteering Service, and launched a global voting campaign for the public’s favorite, to be announced on December 5.

Profiles of the five organizations chosen for the award, and their online volunteers, are here (and this is where you vote as well). The organizations are Association des Agriculteurs Professionels du Cameroun (AGRIPO), Fundación de Comunidades Vulnerables de Colombia (FUNCOVULC), Hunger Reduction International, Seeds Performing Arts Theatre Group in Papua New Guinea, and a digital media campaign run by UN Women. Each effort also has a tag regarding which sustainable development goals it supports.

If you know me, then you know which one of the winners immediately jumped out at me and what I voted for: Seeds Performing Arts Theatre Group in Papua New Guinea. The group uses live theatre performance to raise awareness on issues affecting the local rural population, including violence against women, and to inspire and implement social change. Seeds teamed up with a group of online volunteers via the UN’s Online Volunteering service to develop a screenplay for a video about the specific gender-based violence associated with witch hunting. The traditional belief in sorcery is used to justify violence against women in Papua New Guinea, and inhumane treatment of innocent women accused of sorcery is common in rural parts of the island as sorcery is thought to account for unexplained deaths or misfortunes in a family or village.

After voting, you are encouraged to copy the following message to your profile on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or whatever social media channel you use:

Just voted for my favourite Online #VolunteeringAward winner. You can, too! https://goo.gl/CTGVfS #ActionCounts #GlobalGoals” and encourage others to recognize the true value and worth of online volunteers!

In 2014, according to UNV, more than 11,000 online volunteers undertook more than 17,000 online volunteering assignments through the service, and 60 percent of these online volunteers come from developing countries. I had the pleasure of directing the service at UNV for four years, from February 2001 to February 2014, successfully moving the platform from NetAid to UNV entirely, engaging in various activities that made the service the first link when searching the term online volunteering on Google (I also made it #1 when searching the term virtual volunteering, but that’s no longer true), vastly increasing the number of online opportunities available for organizations on the platform and authoring materials to support organizations engaging online volunteers that are still used by UNV. I still promote the site to any organizations working in or for regions in the developing world as the best way to recruit online volunteers.

Also see:

The Virtual Volunteering Wiki

The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook

My research on Theater as a Tool for Development/Theatre as a Tool for Development

Reddit controversy is a lesson in working with volunteers

redditReddit is a very high-profile online community that has been in the news a lot lately. It’s in the style of an old-fashioned online bulletin board – a very popular, simple, low-graphics platform on the early days of the Internet that I miss very much. On Reddit, members can submit content, such as text posts or direct links, and can vote submissions up or down – voting determines the position of posts on the site’s pages. Content entries are organized by areas of interest called subreddits.

The community membership has created a strong, outspoken, high-intelligent culture that can be, at times, aggressive regarding its belief in free speech, and there are very few rules about the types of content that may be posted. This has led to the creation of several subreddits that have been perceived as offensive, including forums dedicated to jailbait (since banned) and pictures of dead bodies. On the other hand, the Reddit community’s philanthropic efforts are some of my favorites to highlight in my workshops.

Reddit employee Victoria Taylor helped organize citizen-led interviews on Reddit with famous people on the very popular “Ask me Anything” (AMA) subreddit, including interviews with Benedict Cumberbatch (sigh), USA President Obama, Bill Nye, Madonna, and Eric Idle –  and these sessions often ended up landing on the news for some especially funny or outlandish answer given. She was very popular with the volunteer online moderators. But recently, Taylor was fired. Reddit moderators have said they were “blindsided” by Taylor’s firing and that she was “an essential lifeline” for them and Reddit employees. Many Reddit users have demanded answers from Reddit’s interim CEO Ellen Pao regarding why Taylor was dismissed. In protest of her dismissal, moderators on several of the site’s largest subreddits locked users out. Pao is now scrambling to calm hostilities, and says it’s all just a result of miscommunication.

This mutiny by the online moderators is actually an all-too-common problem for organizations that involve large numbers of very dedicated volunteers, online or onsite. Reddit forgot that its volunteers aren’t just free labor; they feel personally invested in this organization, they feel ownership, and while those characteristics make them excellent moderators, it also means that, if they feel taken advantage of or that they aren’t being listened to, they will rebel, very publicly.

Reddit leadership needs to immediately read America Online volunteers : Lessons from an early co-production community, by Hector Postigo, in the International Journal of Cultural Studies 2009. This article analyzes the case of America Online (AOL) volunteers, specifically when company changes resulted in the rise of a labor consciousness among many volunteers, which in turn made the “free distributed workforce” impossible to sustain – and invited intervention by the US Department of Labor. They also need to each buy a copy of The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, and READ IT. And maybe hire Susan Ellis and I to help them fix this mess…

Update, July 7: the Wall Street Journal has also blogged about this issue from a volunteer management perspective. I’ve added a comment on it.

The future of virtual volunteering? Deeper relationships, higher impact

book coverIn May 2015, the book Volunteer Engagement 2.0 will be published by Wiley. The brainchild of VolunteerMatch, the book is meant to be a “what’s next” regarding volunteering, and features 35 different chapter contributors, including me.

I was asked to contribute a chapter on virtual volunteering and, initially, I said no. I said no at first for two reasons:

  1. Because, as Susan Ellis and I note in The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, virtual volunteering should not be a separate topic amid discussions about volunteer engagement and management. Instead, virtual volunteering needs to be fully integrated into all such discussions and trainings. No more segregation at the end of the book or workshop! If a book talks about recruiting volunteers, for instance, it needs to include how the Internet plays a role in this. If a workshop explores ways to recognize volunteers, it needs to include how to leverage online tools for this.
  2. Because virtual volunteering is NOT “what’s next” in volunteering: it is NOW. It’s a practice that’s more than 30-years-old. There were already so many organizations involving online volunteers back in the late 1990s I quit trying to count them!

I ultimately agreed, instead, to write a chapter on what I think is “what’s next” regarding virtual volunteering. And, as usual, I went against the grain: while everyone seems to be saying that microvolunteering is what most volunteers really want, I think there are a growing number of people that, instead, want more meaningful, high-responsibility, high-impact roles in virtual volunteering.

I focused my chapter on direct service virtual volunteering. Using a variety of asynchronous and synchronous Internet tools, this type of virtual volunteering includes:

  • Electronic visiting with someone who is home-bound, in a hospital or assisted living facility
  • Online mentoring and instruction, such as helping young students with homework questions or supporting adults learning a skill or finding a job
  • Teaching people to use a particular technology tool
  • One counseling by volunteers, such as staffing online crisis support lines
  • Facilitating online discussion groups for people with specific questions or needs, on childcare, organic gardening, travel to a particular area, or most any subject humans are capable of discussion
  • Offering legal, medical, business, or other expertise to clients
  • Working on a project together with clients and other volunteers as a part of meeting the organization’s mission, such as writing about the news of their neighborhood, school, or special interest group

When volunteers interact with clients directly, it’s a highly personal activity, no matter the mission of the organization. These volunteer roles involve building and maintaining trust and cultivating relationships – not just getting a task done. It takes many hours and a real commitment – it can’t be done just when the volunteer might have some extra time. And altogether, that means that, unlike microvolunteering, these direct service virtual volunteering roles aren’t available to absolutely anyone with a networked device, Internet access and a good heart. These roles discriminate: if you don’t have the skills and the time, you don’t get to do them. And, believe it or not, the very high bar for participation is very appealing to a growing number of people that want to volunteer.

Of course, I’m not opposed to microvolunteering – online tasks that take just a few minutes or hours for a volunteer to complete, require little or not training of the online volunteer, and require no ongoing commitment. I’ve been writing about microvolunteering before it was called that – I gave it the name byte-sized volunteering back in the 1990s, but the name didn’t stick. I think, if you want to give lots of people a taste of your organization or program, with an eye to cultivating those people into longer-term volunteers, and/or donors, and you have the time to create microvolunteering assignments, great, go for it!

But I am hearing and seeing a growing number of comments from people, especially young people, saying they want more than just a “quickie” volunteering experience. They want more than number-of-hours volunteering. They want more than a list of tasks that need done. They want something high-impact. They want to feel like they have really made a difference. They want to make a real connection with the organization and those, or the mission, it serves. They want a deep volunteering experience. I fear that, in the rush to embrace the microvolunteering buzz, we’re ignoring those people that want something more. My chapter in Volunteer Engagement 2.0 is my plea to not ignore those potential volunteers.

vvbooklittleHow to create both online microvolunteering tasks and high-responsibility online roles, including direct service with clients, and everything in between, as well as how to recruit and support volunteers for those roles, is fully explored, in great detail and with a lot of examples, in The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook.



Blogs & articles re: virtual volunteering NOT by me

Why no, I’m *not* the only person who talks about Virtual Volunteering / e-volunteering / digital volunteering, etc.

In addition to research and evaluations of virtual volunteering, that is tracked on the Virtual Volunteering Wiki, which has been put together as a supplement to The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, there are also various other web sites, blogs, publications and initiatives focused on virtual volunteering, often under different names (digital volunteering, online volunteering, microvolunteering, etc.).

It’s impossible to create a comprehensive list of such – just as it would be impossible to make a list of all web sites, blogs and other non-research related to volunteering, in general. But I have made a list gives an overview of the different ways various people and organizations are talking about virtual volunteering, especially internationally. There are links to information about virtual volunteering in Spanish, Catalan, German, Polish, Ukrainian, and a wee bit in French.

Also see this page tracking news articles, blog posts, and other updates on virtual volunteering and this page lists RSS feeds that automatically link to the latest web pages, blogs, and other online materials that use terms that relate to virtual volunteering.

And, of course, check out The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook.

How many virtual volunteering projects are there?

I get these questions frequently:

How many virtual volunteering / digital volunteering or microvolunteering projects are there?

How many people are engaged in virtual volunteering?

The answer: NO ONE KNOWS.

vvbooklittleI can say that there are at least thousands of virtual volunteering projects in the world, and MANY thousands of people engaged in virtual volunteering, but I cannot tell you exactly how many.

No one can.

Why can’t those questions be answered? Because no one is tracking the number of projects nor the number of volunteers engaged in such. Why is no one tracking such? Because IT’S IMPOSSIBLE. Why is it impossible? Because:

  • Most volunteering tasks – virtual or not – aren’t officially registered anywhere, maybe not even in the organization where they are happening. Individual organizations struggle to count how many volunteers actively engaged with them in any one year! You can’t even rely on web sites where organizations recruit volunteers, since not every organization use such sites – nonprofits and NGOs often use their own web sites and social media channels to recruit volunteers for online tasks, in addition to offline means – announcing the availability of online tasks at an onsite meeting, for instance. I can’t count how many times an organization tells me they aren’t involving online volunteers, and after I explain to them what virtual volunteering is, they realize, in fact, they ARE involving digital volunteers.
  • Many, and maybe most, organizations involving volunteers virtually don’t think of themselves as involving online volunteers, and most people that become volunteers online don’t think of themselves as online volunteers or digital volunteers. People volunteer, period. Organizations involve volunteers, period. Many, and maybe most, organizations don’t distinguish when a person is an onsite volunteer versus an online volunteer.
  • No one can say how many group volunteering events have happened in any given area. Or family volunteering. Or teen volunteering. Or pro bono service. Again – none of these are officially, regularly registered anywhere, and are often not even tracked and recorded within the agency or department that organized such!
  • The terms volunteer and volunteering are contested terms, in any language (not just English); there is not universal agreement on their definitions and they are not uniformly used the same way – if they are used at all by organizations (they often are not). There’s also not agreement on terms like virtual volunteering, micro volunteering, digital volunteering or cyber volunteering. When we aren’t all using the same words regarding online volunteers, how can we even begin to try to count such?

It was a huge challenge for me to do a research paper in 2013 regarding Internet-mediated Volunteering in the EU (virtual volunteering). I made it clear to the EU agency that hired me that I would NOT be finding every organization in Europe engaged in virtual volunteering – I wouldn’t even come close – because it would be impossible, for all the reasons I have already mentioned, plus because of the multitude of languages in Europe. In several weeks reviewing just online materials, with my limited language abilities and Google Translate, I found 60 organizations involving online volunteers – but imagine how many I would have found if I could have visited ever NGO umbrella organization in every country and explained what is meant by virtual volunteering – like so many people that attend my workshops, they would realize that they have been working with online volunteers for YEARS and didn’t know it.

It’s the same with hackathons. Knowbility, in Austin, Texas, has been doing hackathons since the 1990s, but they never called them that – the term didn’t become widely known and used until fairly recently. How many other nonprofits have been doing hackathons for years and haven’t known it?

So here’s what we can say:

  • Virtual volunteering is happening on every country on Earth that has Internet access – both organizations engaging with volunteers online and people volunteering their time online.
  • In fully-developed countries (the USA, Canada, Western Europe, etc.), transitional countries (such as those that were a part of the Soviet Union), and developing countries with a sizable population with Internet access (South Africa, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, etc.), there are more online volunteers / digital volunteers, and more projects that are involving volunteers, than can be counted. There are not dozens, not hundreds-there are thousands of digital volunteering projects, collectively, in all these countries.
  • Virtual volunteering is a practice that’s more than 30 years old.
  • The USA probably has the largest number of virtual volunteering-related projects and the largest number of online volunteers – but other virtual volunteering hot spots include Canada, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Ukraine, Brazil and India. In Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa are worthy of attention as well.

Also see:

How many organizations involve online volunteers?

Research on USA volunteerism excludes virtual volunteering

When words get in the way (like “Virtual Volunteering”)

Volunteerism research should include virtual volunteering!

Finding out how many orgs are involving online volunteers

Call for Papers : Social Media Adoption, Utilization & Consequences in Nonprofit Sector

Call for Proposals, Special Issue on: Social Media Adoption, Utilization, and Consequences in the Nonprofit Sector, International Journal of Public Administration in the Digital Age (IJPADA)

Paper Proposal Submission Deadline: December 1, 2014

Guest Editors: Dr. Hugo Asencio and Dr. Rui Sun (California State University, Dominguez Hills, USA)

As a group of internet-based applications, social media (Web 2.0 technologies) allow individuals to create, update, and exchange content. They also help facilitate the development of social networks in an interactive way. Compared to traditional websites (Web 1.0 technologies), given their stakeholder engagement, community building, and mobilization potential, social media can better help nonprofits accomplish their goals and fulfill their missions. Given the dearth of empirical evidence available, systematic investigations are needed to better understand social media adoption, utilization, and consequences in the nonprofit sector.

Objectives of the Special Issue:
This special issue seeks to contribute to the discourse among researchers and practitioners on the antecedents and consequences of social media adoption and utilization in the nonprofit sector. That is, what are the internal and external environmental factors that affect social media adoption and utilization in nonprofits? What are the impacts of social media adoption and implementation both within and outside nonprofit organizations? Quantitative cross-sectional or longitudinal studies using secondary data or original surveys are preferred. Qualitative multi-case or mixed-methods studies are also welcomed.

The editors invite systematic investigations on social media adoption and utilization in nonprofits providing services in areas, such as: education, healthcare, social services, environmental protection, advocacy, public awareness, human and civil rights, and so forth. Cross-country comparative studies are also welcomed.

Recommended Topics:
Topics to be discussed in this special issue include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Internal, external environmental factors and social media adoption
  • Internal, external environmental factors and social media use
  • Social media use and marketing
  • Social media use and communications
  • Social media use and fundraising
  • Social media use and volunteering
  • Social media use and advocacy
  • Social media use and civic engagement
  • Social media use and organizational learning
  • Social media use and organizational capacity
  • Social media use and collaboration
  • Social media use and performance evaluation
  • Social media use and collaborative governance

Submission Procedure:
Interested authors are invited to submit paper proposals (500 words) for this special issue by December 1, 2014. All paper submissions must be original and may not be under review by another publication. INTERESTED AUTHORS SHOULD CONSULT THE JOURNAL’S GUIDELINES FOR MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSIONS at


All submitted papers will be reviewed on a double-blind, peer review basis. Papers must follow APA style for reference citations.

About the International Journal of Public Administration in the Digital Age (IJPADA):
Created in 2014, IJPADA is an international journal that examines the impact of public administration and information technology (IT) in developed and developing countries. Original research papers published in IJPADA focus on the impact of new and innovative technologies on improving public service delivery in public and nonprofit organizations. This journal will also provide case studies examining technology innovations in specific countries. The editor invites author(s) to submit original research papers that examine important issues in public administration and information technology.

This journal is an official publication of the Information Resources Management Association

Editor-in-Chief: Dr. Christopher G. Reddick (The University of Texas at San Antonio, USA)

Published: Quarterly (both in Print and Electronic form)

IJPADA is published by IGI Global (formerly Idea Group Inc.), publisher of the “Information Science Reference” (formerly Idea Group Reference), “Medical Information Science Reference”, “Business Science Reference”, and “Engineering Science Reference” imprints. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit www.igi-global.com.

Important Dates:
December 1, 2014: Paper Proposal Submission Deadline (500 words)
December 15, 2014: Proposal Acceptance Notification
May 1, 2015: Full Paper Submission
July 1, 2015: Peer Review Results
September 1, 2015: Final Chapter Submission
September 15, 2015: Final Acceptance Notification

Inquiries and paper proposals should be forwarded electronically to Dr. Hugo Asencio (hasencio@csudh.edu) or Dr. Rui Sun (rsun@csudh.edu).