Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Volunteer management in cyberspace

In addition to its other advantages, the online environment provides many possibilities for volunteer recruitment and management. In her chapter "Volunteer Recruitment and Management" in the book Nonprofit Internet Strategies, Alison Li presents some of the online options that have become available to nonprofits regarding their volunteers:

  • Online volunteer matching. Online volunteer matching services allow organizations to reach new prospective supporters beyond geographic borders. Would-be volunteers can search for opportunities by name of organization, location, mission or other criteria that matter to them. Volunteers can learn more about organizations with they are familiar and discover new organizations they were not aware of.
  • Expanding the boundaries of volunteering. Internet resources can help managers rethink the way volunteers are recruited and managed, primarily by reaching those who do not fit traditional molds by virtue of age, disability, race, ethnicity or availability.
  • Virtual volunteering. Opportunities are now open to people who find it difficult to volunteer in person because of disabilities or work or family responsibilities that prevent them from coming to an office during regular working hours.
  • Managing and retaining volunteers. Online tools can allow volunteers to schedule their work and log their hours via email or an online scheduling system.
  • Recognizing volunteer efforts. The Web is an excellent place to recognize the accomplishments of volunteers.
  • Corporate linkup. Many corporations are searching for ways to help their employees volunteer and to serve their communities, and the Net helps them do this.

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