In your opinion, what's the biggest drawback about virtual volunteering in general, and the Virtual Volunteering Project specifically?

1. Coordinating replies, assignments and other pertinenet information. I like to work with people face-to-face and feel reluctant to ask them to do too much. I have lost volunteers because I can't always reply in a timely manner and, once, because I lost everything a volunteer sent me, including address and the preliminary work sent in when my e-mail program and computer crashed in a big way. Can't think of any for the Virtual Volunteering Project (other than lengthy surveys needed on short notice!). Sometimes, things are too wordy (but I'd have to go look at the site right now to tell you specifically where). I'm not sure that it is; I just have that impression when I think of it sometimes. It is, perhaps, a function of the text-based nature of the site.

2. The drawback to virtual volunteering is the relative disconnection from the agency. It's sometimes more difficult to give a volunteer a sense of mission without regular, offline, personal experience. I don't know if it's a drawback, but I would like to be able to post volunteer opportunities on the VV web site.

3. Keeping track of virtual volunteers remains the biggest challenge. They need constant supervision to keep them ontrack and involved.

4. The biggest drawback for us has been that those volunteering virtually can seem gung-ho and committed and then disappear with no explanation. We seldom have that problem in real-life, perhaps because most of our in-person volunteers are related to a client (performer). I guess the biggest drawback about the Virtual Volunteering Project has been that it got our hopes up a little too high about what we can expect from online volunteers and the amount of feedback we are asked to give. I know it's probably not much overall, but it seems like a lot, especially when presented in lengthy surveys. (Maybe this is my own feeling of guilt at not always doing the surveys!)

5. The biggest drawback is that it can be abused (particularly by those indulging in identity fraud).

6. The biggest drawback is the lack of familiarity with virtual volunteering and the need to educate those who could benefit most from the services of such volunteers. I think the Virtual Volunteering Project could use people funded to do on-site training and seminars to provide a sound start-up for new programs. Community education is still badly needed until the technology resources are more commonly known.

7. lack of sensing emotion. (That you could pick up in a phone conversation. VVproject: not much....maybe some of the issues that were discussed didn;t imapct our volunteers in particulat.

8. Virtual volunteering in general has a lack of a sense of community. Personal interactions are lost. and thus so are some of the motivations for volunteers to be involved. The Virual Volunteer project has helped provide strategies to work in Virtual Volunteering projects.

9. In general, the drawbacks involve the ever-changing technology and the techno-phobia of many service agencies. Also, if an organization cannot work well with volunteers on site, it is doomed in cyberspace! There are no real "drawbacks" of the VV Project, but it did have difficulty in finding and exploring direct service cyber options. But this is due to the state-of-the-art of the idea.

10. The biggest drawback in general is the challenge of maintaining successful communication between volunteers and directors/managers/staff. Email is a very imperfect method of communication. And people don't often get to see the immediate results of their hard work, so one must work very hard to keep them motivated. I don't really see a drawback to the VV project!

11. It is hard to keep the VV connected. It seems that 1 or 2 will join up , do a project and disappear. In particular, since our mission has a geographic focus.

12. The main drawback to me as a volunteer is that there is no face-to-face contact. I miss being able to talk with other volunteers, the volunteer managers. Efforts have been made to build on this sense of community (i.e. the volunteer listserv), but as it's been said: the higher the tech, the higher the "touch" (i.e. interpersonal communication) that is needed in order to develop a truly effective team.

13. The usual suspects: inability of agencies to think creatively and/or long-term about benefits

14. I think it's my organizational style (or lack thereof!) rather than a drawback of VV. When we get busy, my travel schedule increases, or other demands are "in my face" -- the Virtual Volunteers are OUT of my face, and they go onto the back burner. I'm still learning to work with this [and just last night created a grid to show me at a glance if I'm behind in touching base with someone -- we'll see how that works!]

15. In general: The lack of sustained and engaging personal contacts. VVP: Something like the same thing. I've never felt as though my connection with the project was very sustained and reliable.

16. Lack of human contact seems the biggest challenge. I experience that problem with all off site volunteers. It is tougher to build the human connection that is important in any relationship.

17. The biggest drawback about virtual volunteering is its potential lack of personality with people interacting via computer rather than by phone or face-to-face. Regarding the Virtual Volunteering Project, the biggest drawback is a nice one to have - there is just so much information available!