This is an archived version of the Virtual Volunteering Project web site from January 2001.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The Virtual Volunteering Project web site IS NO LONGER UPDATED.
Email addresses associated with the Virtual Volunteering Project are no longer valid.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).
 
Virtual Volunteering Project Logo

 
Screening and Evaluating Volunteers
From How the Virtual Volunteering Project Involves Online Volunteers
by Jayne Cravens, Project Manager

 
As I note several times in the VV Project pages, signing up for online opportunities is so easy that, often, people fire off an e-mail saying they want to volunteer before they really think about the time and commitment online volunteering takes.

A mistake I made early on was giving assignments to people as soon as they e-mailed interest; the result was that most assignments did not get done, or I gave out the same assignment to more than one volunteer, assuming that at least one of them wouldn't complete the work.

To remedy this, I now direct all potential volunteers to an overview Web page of volunteering projects at the VV Project that clearly spells out what assignments are available and what volunteering with this Project is like. From that page (and only from that page), volunteers can access our online application. Completing this application is mandatory for being an online volunteer with this project. If a volunteer can't complete this simple form, could they really commit the time and attention necessary for an online assignment?

The answers to this form are sent to my e-mail address. Upon receipt and review of this form, I send an e-mail that serves as an online orientation. It provides a VERY brief history of the Virtual Volunteering Project, details on what the volunteer is commiting to by signing up to volunteer with the Project, how assignment progress is tracked, and reporting requirements. It also directs the volunteer to subscribe to two e-mail lists: one that announces new volunteering opportunities at the VV Project, and VIRTUAL VERVE, the monthly virtual volunteering update. Only when the volunteer responds to this orientation and subscribes to these e-mail lists is he or she given an assignment.

The online application and orientation have dramatically cut down on the number of people who e-mail interest in volunteering but who I never hear from again after I make the first assignment - I call them "virtual no-shows". When I first began, about 75% of the people who said they wanted to volunteer online with this Project were never heard from again after that first e-mail. Now, more than 50% of people who complete the online application also actually complete assignments, and more than half of those ask for a second assignment. This process has also put me in a much better position to match volunteers with appropriate assignments, and cut way down on the amount of time I spend tracking assignment progress.

I ADMIT IT: Sometimes, on rare occassions, I skip sending out the online orientation and send the volunteer an assignment right away. I've done this only when I have recruited a volunteer for a very specific job and very short term task; for instance, finding someone to convert our logo from .gif (used for artwork on the web) to .eps (used for artwork in print format). For these one time, very short, very specific technical assignments, I will occassionally waive the online orientation. If, however, the volunteer, upon completing this assignment, wants to explore other volunteering opportunities with the Project, they have to go through the online orientation.

Read more suggestions about Orienting and Evaluating Volunteers for Virtual Assignments (includes links to other organization's online volunteer applications and other volunteer forms.

 
Other parts of this essay:

 


 
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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