This is an archived version of the Virtual Volunteering Project web site from January 2001.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The Virtual Volunteering Project web site IS NO LONGER UPDATED.
Email addresses associated with the Virtual Volunteering Project are no longer valid.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).
People in "mandatory service" are people who have been directed by the court system to perform a certain number of community service hours as part of their probation or as part of "payment" to the community for a misdemeanor crime.
If such a person contacts you about working with your agency, tell him or her that the first step is for that person to get permission to perform community service online from his or her court liaison, because many courts do not yet recognize online service as "real" volunteering (because most have never heard of it). Offer to write a letter to the liaison on the person's behalf, as appropriate, to show that you represent a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, and describe the kinds of things online volunteers do for your organization. Explain how the volunteer's work will be reviewed and how hours of contribution are determined.
You will want to get the name, address, phone number, fax number and, if available, the e-mail address of the person's court liaison, and know how often you have to report this person's hours to the liaison.
It might also be appropriate for you to ask the nature of the person's offense. It might not. It depends on the type of tasks you are going to have this person perform. For instance, you might not want a person who has been sentenced to community service for hacking into a secured government computer system, for fear that they will do the same to your system; OR, you may think, great, this person really knows computers, so I'm going to involve them in a particularly challenging computer task we don't have the expertise for!
There is an opportunity for fraud in mandatory service performed over the Internet -- namely, how do you know if the person who has been sentenced is actually performing the service, and not that person's parent, sibling, room mate, etc? You don't. At the Virtual Volunteering Project, we've left such verification up to the court liaison when working with mandatory service people. Some organizations have said that perhaps a solution is to have the person provide his or her service via a public library computer, and to have a library staff person to sign the person's time sheet, in addition to the volunteer manager's signature.
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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