This is an archived version of the Virtual Volunteering Project web site from January 2001.
The materials on the web site were written or compiled by Jayne Cravens.
The Virtual Volunteering Project has been discontinued.
The Virtual Volunteering Project web site IS NO LONGER UPDATED.
Email addresses associated with the Virtual Volunteering Project are no longer valid.
For any URL that no longer works, type the URL into archive.org
.
For new materials regarding online volunteering, see
Jayne Cravens' web site (the section on volunteerism-related resources).
 
 
 
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seeking and promoting involvement
of people with disabilities in
virtual volunteering programs

This information was last updated on October 2, 2000

Online volunteering programs can allow for the greater participation of people who might find volunteering difficult or impossible because of a disability. This in turn allows organizations to benefit from the additional talent and resources of more volunteers, and allows agencies to further diversify their volunteer talent pool.

People with disabilities volunteer for the same reasons as anyone else: they want to contribute their time and energy to improving the quality of life. They want challenging, rewarding, educational service projects that address needs of a community and provide them with outlets for their enthusiasm and talents.

Just as building designs can help persons in wheelchairs to navigate doorways, there are ways to accommodate persons with disabilities to serve in virtual volunteering programs. The Virtual Volunteering Project Team researches and documents ways to accommodate and encourage such persons in online volunteering programs. Our goal is to help agencies develop online volunteering programs and systems flexible enough to meet the needs and preferences of the broadest range of users of computers and telecommunications equipment, regardless of age or disability.

Harris poll results from June of 2000 report that 48 percent of people with disabilities who have access to the Internet believe that it has significantly improved their quality of life, compared 27 percent of the adults without disabilities. Therefore, people with disabilities already see the true value of online communications, and are in a prime position to provide volunteering via the Internet.

People with disabilities who volunteer, online or onsite, are first and foremost VOLUNTEERS, not "disabled" volunteers. Bringing people with disabilities into a volunteer program should be conducted in the same spirit as it is for those without disabilities.(1)

"For too long, individuals with disabilities have been viewed as recipients, not providers of service. However, many are fully capable and willing to provide service to others in their community. Their desire to become active volunteers should not be overlooked. Their involvement should not be merely as token volunteers, but as fully-participating, active, and responsible partners of the community service team." (2)

Animated graphic link to Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation

Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF) awarded grants to the Virtual Volunteering Project in 1998 and 1999 to help us document and promote ways for agencies to involve and accommodate volunteers with disabilities. MEAF staff also act as active participants in the projects the Foundation supports, and the Foundation encourages all grantees to collaborate on various activities. We are most grateful for their support.

The Virtual Volunteering Project Team has compiled information in the following areas:

Credits

Some of this information was adapted from other sources, which offer excellent additional information about working with volunteers with disabilities, on or offline.

If you would like to share information with the Virtual Volunteering Project Team about your own experiences working with volunteers virtually, please contact us.

If you have helped or are helping organizations as a volunteer via your home or work computer, please complete our online survey for volunteers and tell us about your experiences.


This component of the Virtual Volunteering Project is made possible by a special grant from the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation. We are most grateful for their support.


If you find this or any other Virtual Volunteering Project information helpful, or would like to add information based on your own experience, please contact us.


 
Copyright © 1999 - 2000 The University of Texas at Austin
All Rights Reserved.


 
This is an archived version of the Virtual Volunteering Project web site from January 2001.
The materials on the web site were written or compiled by Jayne Cravens.
The Virtual Volunteering Project has been discontinued.
The Virtual Volunteering Project web site IS NO LONGER UPDATED.
Email addresses associated with the Virtual Volunteering Project are no longer valid.
For any URL that no longer works, type the URL into archive.org
.
For new materials regarding online volunteering, see
Jayne Cravens' web site (the section on volunteerism-related resources).
 

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