This is an archived version of the Virtual Volunteering Project web site from January 2001.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The Virtual Volunteering Project web site IS NO LONGER UPDATED.
Email addresses associated with the Virtual Volunteering Project are no longer valid.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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orienting and evaluating
volunteers for virtual assignments

This information was last updated on July 31, 2000

Once your organization is ready for virtual volunteering and you've set the internal groundwork for staff buy-in and internal controls, you are ready to look into implementation of a virtual volunteering program.

As part of your efforts to set up and manage a virtual volunteering program, you need to develop a system of orienting and evaluating volunteers to work offsite via home or work computers.

Your orientation and evaluation of onsite volunteers who work only with staff is probably very different from your orientation and evaluation of volunteers who interact directly with your clients and the public. The same is true for volunteers working virtually -- you will probably have different systems for online volunteers who work just with staff, as opposed to those who interact with clients, the public, and each other.

Online volunteering assignments vary widely: volunteers can simply surf the Internet and gather information for your agency, or they can actively participate in and supervise a chat room for your clients. These assignments require a varying degree of orienting and evaluating of the volunteer, as well as screening. Therefore, not all of the following tips are applicable to every online assignment.

Many volunteers who contribute virtually to your organization 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 one time virtual experience with you. This is not uncommon. So you may not need to follow all of these orientation suggestions initially with volunteers who want to work virtually; it depends on the nature of the work they want to do and the amount of time they want to contribute to your organization, as well as your own level of comfort.

Some agencies working with online volunteers require such volunteers to make one onsite visit to the organization for the volunteer orientation, evaluating and screening process. While this practice excludes people outside of the nearby geographic area from volunteering with your organization, it may be necessary to implement this requirement, depending on the nature of the work the volunteer is going to do as well as the culture of your agency.

However, a word of caution -- meeting and orienting online volunteers only face-to-face or on the phone means that you have no way of knowing how they work and interact online. Many potential volunteers will be enthusiastic and seem perfect on the phone or in your onsite orientation, but then not do well at all via e-mail. Therefore, it's imperative that at least a portion of your screening and orienting of online volunteers be done online.

You can also screen and orient some volunteers to support your organization without requiring any face-to-face or phone meetings.

 

Tips for Orienting and Screening Volunteers Online

 
There are four sample online orientations by four different organizations here on our Web site. These orientations incorporate the aforementioned suggestions, to give you an idea of how to create an online orientation for your own agency.

In addition, you can read a first hand account of how the Virtual Volunteering Project Manager screens and evaluates online volunteers here on our Web site.

For more detailed information about screening volunteers working directly with clients, the public or each other, and for guidelines and practices for ensuring the safety of all participants in such program, please see the VV Project's suggestions for direct contact online volunteering.

 

If you use this material to help your organization, please e-mail us and let us know!

Some information on this page is based on:

Links to other telecommuting resources can help you learn more about managing and working virtually.


 
Information for those who wish to
quote from, copy and/or distribute the information on this Web site

 
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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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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