This is an archived version of the Virtual Volunteering Project web site from January 2001.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The Virtual Volunteering Project web site IS NO LONGER UPDATED.
Email addresses associated with the Virtual Volunteering Project are no longer valid.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).
Recruiting online volunteers is the easy part! Keeping them is more difficult.
In the traditional office, much of the communication and inspiration with volunteers occurs informally. But opportunities for information exchange are very different in the virtual office. If the agency doesn't respond to their questions or comments quickly, or initiate communications regularly, online volunteers can feel isolated or undervalued, and gradually uninspired about the work your organization is doing.
Also, many volunteers who contribute virtually will work only on a short-term basis, because of personal preference; they may complete one project in two weeks and then withdraw from your program, content with this short-term virtual experience. This is not uncommon.
A key to keeping online volunteers active is putting new volunteers into an orientation process immediately. This shows demonstrates your commitment to volunteers and sets the tone for timely communications.
There are many simple things you can do to help managers feel comfortable about working with volunteers virtually, and, in turn, help volunteers provide you with the best possible support. We have management tips that can help, including information on how to encourage regular reporting by online volunteers, how to stay in touch and in tune with online volunteers, and how to build a sense of team and ensure inclusion of online volunteers.
In addition to these process tips, we also offer advice regarding Online Culture - learning the different styles of "personalities" online, interpreting people's written communications and assisting volunteers and managers alike in being clear and effective online.
If you have other questions and cannot find the answers on this web site, please contact us.
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.
If you do use Virtual Volunteering Project materials in your own workshop or trainings, or republish materials in your own publications, please let us know, so that we can track how this information is disseminated.
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