The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook

available for purchase as a paperback & an ebook from Energize, Inc.

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About Jayne Cravens

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  •   Jayne Cravens is an international consultant, researcher and trainer. Her work is focused on communications (her first love), volunteer involvement / community engagement, and management for nonprofits, NGOs, and government initiatives. She has more than a decade of international experience, including extensive experience regarding community and institutional development. She is passionate about the importance of mission-based organizations - nonprofits, non-governmental organizations, UN agencies and others - in ensuring a healthy, peaceful, happy planet with equal rights and opportunities for all people.

    Jayne is a pioneer regarding the research, promotion and practice of virtual volunteering, including virtual team work, online mentoring, microvolunteering and crowdsourcing. Jayne became active online in 1993, and she created one of the first web sites focused on helping to build the capacity of nonprofits to use the Internet. For this expertise, she has been interviewed for and quoted in articles in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press, as well as for reports by CNN, Deutsche Well, the BBC, and various local radio stations, TV stations and blogs. Resources from her web site,, are frequently cited in reports and articles by a variety of organizations, online and in-print.

    Jayne is a veteran manager of various local and international initiatives. She has worked extensively with multicultural audiences, corporate audiences, United Nations agencies, national and international agencies, international aid workers, low-income communities, and those who are traditionally socially-excluded, both in communications and facilitation capacities. In all of her community and institutional development work, she has a demonstrated commitment to women's issues and mainstreaming gender considerations.

    She also tracks practices to prevent folklore, rumors (or rumours), and myths from derailing humanitarian aid and development initiatives, and blogs frequently regarding how to build trust online and counter online criticisms, as well as the online communications fundamentals for nonprofits, government programs, schools and other mission-based programs.  

    Her CV, which fully details her professional experience and skills, and her references, are available upon request. You can also read about her core professional competencies and her capacity-building work specifically.

    Read "What's Interesting To Me These Days", a list of her current professional priorities -- issues that she's actively researching, reading and writing about.

    Jayne received her BA in Journalism from Western Kentucky University and her MSc in Development Management from Open University (U.K.). A native of Kentucky, she lived in the USA until February 2001, when she moved to Germany, where she stayed through April 2009, except for six months in 2007, when she lived in Afghanistan. She also spend two months working for the UN in Ukraine. She has traveled to more than 35 countries, many of them by motorcycle.

    Jayne is currently based in the USA, near Portland, Oregon (West Coast of USA/Pacific time zone), living with with her virtual volunteering but-not-at-all-virtual husband, Stefan, and their beloved Mexican street dog, Lucinda.

    If you need a bio for Jayne, please see this page with various biographies you can feel free to use.

    Jayne is almost always willing to travel.

    She is available for:

    • university-level teaching, or training for professional development, onsite or online, regarding various aspects of communications or community engagement
    • short-term consulting onsite anywhere, or online, to advise on strategies, to develop programs or materials, to train or present, or to research and write on any subject within her areas of expertise
    • long-term consulting or teaching/training onsite or online, per certain geographic and travel requirements/limitations, to advise on strategies, to develop programs or materials, to train or present, or to research and write on any subject within her areas of expertise
    • long-term employment if she can be based in the Portland, Oregon area 

    You can view her public calendar to see her availability.


    Follow me on Twitter: jcravens42 follow me on Twitter

    My Blog, updated regularly, provides notices on when this site is updated, as well as announcements and new resources. The RSS feed address for the Jayne Blog:

    this web site is accessible by most any computer or browser

    Professional experience and credentials:  











    Independent Consultant & Researcher
    Jayne has supported numerous organizations as an independent consultant regarding communications (her first love), including strategy-development and writing and editing, and through community/volunteer involvement, staff capacity-building, organizational management and fund-raising. 

    Recent consultations:

    • Fall 2015 Duvall Leader in Residence at the University of Kentucky’s Center for Leadership Development (CFLD), part of UK’s College of Agriculture,Food and Environment (October 2015); my lectures, consultations and online activities were focused on leadership development and community development and engagement as both relate to the use of online media. Guest lectured in five under graduate and graduate level classes, conducted five workshops for nonprofit and community representatives, and consultations for the CFLD for its future social media activities. All university-level teaching and courses I can teach are listed here.

    • SURGE Communications Specialist, United Nations and UNDP Ukraine, onsite in Kyiv, (Aug. 3 - Oct. 3, 2014). Activities included drafting and re-drafting the revised strategy for the UN’s work in Ukraine (all UN agencies there), per the drastic changes in the country earlier in 2014; rapidly editing and rewriting document proposals, press releases, web pages, meeting and field reports, etc.; drafting a marketing plan for a UNDP project focused on getting Ukrainians to care about and take action regarding climate change (per the agreements from the UNCED Rio de Janeiro conference/Earth Summit); drafting a strategy to leverage most UN days in some way via social media and, in some cases, traditional means (onsite events, press tours, etc.); live-tweeting the UNDP Ukraine Social Good #inno4dev #2030now summit and blogging about how future events might be more interactive and produce something by the end of the day (more than knowledge-sharing); invented the #uatech4good tag; mapped all of the various UN agencies and programs in Ukraine regarding their online activities and created a page on the UN web site where anyone could find such; researching and drafting recommendations for how various UN agencies, particularly UNDP, could use social media to promote respect, tolerance and perhaps even reconciliation in Ukraine; and helping to develop simple ways to leverage the Humans of New York focus on Ukraine.

    • Advice, research and strategy development regarding the online volunteering component of the EU Aid Volunteers initiative, through People In Aid and France Volontaire (Nov. 2013–April 2014). 

    • Online community management and strategy development, management of online volunteers, manager of microvolunteering initiative Donate Your Brain, and advising on volunteer engagement, for (March 2011 to April 2014). Continued contributions as an online volunteer to the TechSoup forum regarding Tech4Good and Apps4Good initiatives.

    • Researching Internet-mediated volunteering (virtual volunteering, online volunteering, microvolunteering, crowd-sourcing, etc.) in the countries of the European Union for the ICT4EMPL Future Work project, undertaken by the European Commission / Joint Research Centre / Institute for Prospective Technological Studies / Information Society Unit. An additional goal of the research is to explore how this might provide opportunities for entrepreneurship and  employment, skills and social inclusion, and transition from education to employment for young people. Research culminates into a wiki, a presentation by me in Belgium in June 2013, and a final paper. 

    • Researching and building a wiki that identifies suggestions, resources and standard practices for communities of practice/knowledge networks cultivate, for the Corporation of National and Community Service and for (March - September 2012); and created and delivered a webinar for CNCS staff that manage online communities (September 2012).

    • Revised and advised on the communications strategy for CARD-F, a joint initiative of three federal ministries in Afghanistan to promote sustainable growth in legal rural incomes and employment and reduce poppy cultivation (November 2011).

    • Developed a strategy to cultivate greater activity on the forums and blogs of Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP), to better cultivate its online community of practice / knowledge network for humanitarian agencies, and trained ALNAP staff online to carry out this strategy (Oct. 2010 - Jan. 2011).

    • Designed and leaded an all-day intensive onsite workshop re: business planning, monetizing services, and donor/client relations for education advising centers throughout Eastern and Western Europe affiliated with EducationUSA, a global network supported by the U.S. Department of State, Budapest, Hungary (Jan. 2011). Also created a similar all-day workshop for and consulted with centers based throughout the Balkans re: strategic planning and demonstrating program credibility and transparency, in Belgrade, Serbia (Dec. 2009).

    • Edited reports regarding clarity for the Rule of Law, Justice & Security Unit, part of the Conflict Prevention & Recovery Team in UNDP's Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (Jan. 2011).

    • Lead an advanced onsite retreat on volunteer management in Australia, and designing and leading eight additional intensive, all-day trainings at volunteer centers throughout Southern Australia, for three weeks (March 2010).

    • Write press materials and promoted opportunities for volunteers with specific professional skills for Bpeace (Business Council for Peace), a UNIFEM partner and non-profit organization that mobilizes business professionals as volunteers to help entrepreneurs in countries emerging from war, like Rwanda and Afghanistan, to expand local businesses and create employment (and thereby build a peaceful, prosperous future). Read more about this experience working with BPEACE.

    • Developed a customized strategy for the Virginia State Office of Rural Health on the effective use of free and low-cost online networking tools to improve business processes (2009).

    • Several projects for Energize, Inc's Everyone Ready, an intensive staff development plan for national organizations, including writing and recording portions of a curriculum regarding "Social Networking and Volunteer Involvement", authoring "Communication Is the Key: Keep Connected to Volunteers" conducted evaluations for national and international organizations (the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, Planned Parenthood, the Humane Society US, American Lung Association, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), National Kidney Foundation, and the US Army) regarding the effectiveness of their web sites per volunteer recruitment, involvement, advocacy, and support (2005 - 2009).

    • Volunteer Coordinator, Advice Page Editor and Forum Moderator for Aid Workers Network (2008), and authored and implemented volunteer policies and a volunteer recruitment and support system for the network (2007 - 2008)

    • Global Business Education and Social Justice Institute, School of Management & Business, St. Edward's University, Austin, Texas, re: donor cultivation and messaging for a grad student-supported NGO in Latin America (March 2009)

    • Authored volunteer policies and procedures and recommendations for volunteer management for LINGOS / Learning for International NGOS (2007)

    • Advised UNESCO regarding business models for its Open Training Platform (2007) and created a module regarding effectively involving volunteers for UNESCO's Multimedia Training Kit, for trainers working in telecenters, community radio, and other ICT4D initiatives (2005).

    After many years of research, she is finished The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, co-written with Susan Ellis and published in 2014 by Energize Inc.

    On an ongoing basis, she researches and authors materials regarding how rumor and myth can derail development or relief efforts, and ways to address such.

    She authored, and continually updates, Basic Fund-Raising for Small NGOs in the Developing World.



    United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    National Area-Based Development Programme (NABDP)

    From March 1 through most of August 2007, Jayne was in Kabul, Afghanistan to serve as Communication and Reporting Advisor for the National Area-Based Development Programme (NABDP), a program administered by UNDP that supports the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) in Afghanistan. "I was happy to return to my former employer, UNDP, but I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to work in a country in which I have been interested since the 1990s." Among her many communications responsibilities was updating the MRRD/NABDP web site and creating an NABDP Flickr account, with most photos provided by various ministry staff members. She also developed a presentation/training for staff on taking photos.




    United Nations Volunteers Programme (UNV)/
    United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

    From February 2001 - February 2004, Jayne was the Online Volunteering Specialist at UNV, part of UNDP, in Bonn, Germany, helping to build the capacity of staff and UN Volunteers to involve online volunteers, revamping and directing the UNV-managed Online Volunteering service (formerly at NetAid; here is what the site looked like when I directed the service), and assisting UNV in using the Internet to effectively manage onsite UN Volunteers and to build community among former UN volunteers. She was also part of UNITeS, the United Nations Information Technology Service, an initiative of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that promotes volunteerism as fundamental to information and communications technologies for development (ICT4D). Contributions to UNITeS she is especially proud of: creating and maintaining the UNITeS Knowledge Base, including the publications Handheld computer technologies in community service/volunteering/advocacy and Volunteers: Essential to ICT projects in developing countries, as well as coordinating the profiling of all UN Volunteers engaged in ICT4D activities. Jayne advised UNV regarding volunteer management issues and volunteer center development in developing countries, and was responsible for the content and volunteer coordination for UNV's first-ever online events, including a live web cast featuring Tim Burners Lee.


    Virtual Volunteering Project
    From December 1996 - January 2001, Jayne directed the internationally-recognized Virtual Volunteering Project, which encouraged and assisted agencies in the development and success of volunteer opportunities that can be completed via home or work computers and the Internet, and helped agencies use the Internet to manage all volunteers and connect with volunteer management resources. This included creating the most comprehensive information available, on or offline, regarding online mentoring programs and best practices, and engaging in the first ever research regarding online volunteering.

    As part of the Charles A. Dana Center, which was home to the Virtual Volunteering Project from 1998 through 2000, Jayne researched and developed these online resources:

      Jayne is a frequent speaker at a variety of local, regional, national & international conferences, both in-person and online. She has also contributed frequently to graduate-level university classes regarding using the Internet to support volunteers and for greater community involvement and outreach. Her university work includes serving as Fall 2015 Duvall Leader in Residence at the University of Kentucky’s Center for Leadership Development (CFLD), part of UK’s College of Agriculture,Food and Environment (October 2015); being a guest lecturer for SOCW 6355: Advanced Use of Information Technology in Human Services and SOCW 6371: Community and Administrative Practice at the University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work, Feb. 2007, and Feb. & Nov. 2008; a graduate class at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Policy at the University of Texas at Austin in 2004; and a graduate class studying Volunteer Program Planning and Evaluation at the University of North Texas, 2001, 2002 and 2004. She can develop university-level curriculum relating to her areas of expertise and deliver such online or onsite. All university-level teaching and courses she can teach are listed here.
    Jayne's work has been cited in several books and other publications, including Beyond Police Checks: The Definitive Volunteer & Employee Screening Guidebook by Linda L. Graff, What We Learned (the hard way) About Supervising Volunteers by Jarene Frances Lee and Julia M. Catagnus, published by Energize, Inc, The Career Break Book, published by Lonely Planet; and The Rough Guide To A Better World, published by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Rough Guides; final report of the Subcommittee on Public Outreach for USAID's Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA) (my input was re: how to use various Internet tools for ACVFA outreach), Oct. 2008; the 2004 document/proposal E-government Implementation in Lithuania, published by the Kaunas University of Technology Institute of Europe and the UN Online Network in Public Administration and Finance (UNPAN); USAID's Bureau for Global Health newsletter (January 2002); and World Disasters Report 2001: Focus on Recovery by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Before joining UNV/UNDP (see below), her work was cited in the UNDP Gender in Development Programme's Learning & Information Pack: Information, Communication & Knowledge-Sharing, published in 2000 (one of the first UNDP documents addressing this topic).

    In March 2003, Jayne, still officially a resident of Austin, Texas, was a co-winner of the Dewey Winburne Community Service Award, presented at a special ceremony in Austin, Texas, at the conclusion of the Texas Interactive Media (TIM) Awards Ceremony. Dewey Winburne served as one of the original co-founders of what is now known as the SXSW Interactive Festival (one of Jayne's favorite events), and the teaching of multimedia skills to teenagers, particularly teens of low-income and minority descent, was also a great passion in Dewey's life. The Award named in his honor "celebrates the vision that technology is society's most effective tool to level the playing field between the haves and the have nots." Jayne is beside herself at this recognition -- it is something all the more special because it came from the city she still considers her home.

    You can see Jayne's academic / research work at her profile on Most of the academic articles that have cited her work regarding virtual volunteering are listed at her Google Scholar account.



    Jayne has extensive experience facilitating participatory meetings to help attendees identify community needs and community-lead solutions, and to provide feedback on their interactions with and services from particular programs. Originally trained in community facilitation and planning
    by Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation (PIRE), she has facilitated project planning meetings of native Americans, of police and youth, of pro-Choice activists and of corporate leaders in Santa Clara County, California (Silicon Valley), of Afghan government officials regarding women's empowerment in Afghanistan, of Afghan community members in a rural province north of Kabul, and of United Nations staff on various subjects in Bonn, Germany and Kyiv, Ukraine. She participates in community planning meetings, local government meetings and community engagement opportunities in the area where she lives whenever possible, to continuously learn best practices in community engagement and facilitation.  


    She has published papers in various academic and professional journals:
      "Virtual Volunteering: Online Volunteers Providing Assistance to Human Service Agencies", in Human Services Online: A New Arena for Service Delivery , which was co-published simultaneously as the Journal of Technology in Human Services, Volume 17, Numbers 1 and 2/3 2000, by The Haworth Press

      "Online Mentoring: Programs and Suggested Practices as of February 2001", in Technology-Assisted Delivery of School Based Mental Health Services: Defining School Social Work for the 21st Century, which was co-published simultaneously as the Journal of Technology in Human Services, Volume 21, Numbers 1/2 2003, by The Haworth Press

      "Challenges of International Online Volunteering: Re-Learning Words, Transcending Boundaries", September 2004, in The Journal of Volunteer Administration, Volume 22, Number 3, published by the Association for Volunteer Administration (AVA).

      "Factors for Success in Involving Online Volunteers," presented at "Volunteering Research: Frontiers and Horizons," November 2005, a conference by the Institute for Volunteering Research, in Birmingham, England, and published in The International Journal of Volunteer Administration (IJOVA).

      pending publication: "More Than Performers: Factors for Success in Theater-for-Development Initiatives," an investigation completed in October 2005 of the elements needed for an organization to successfully use live, in-person performance as a tool for development, excluding performer training and theater techniques (also known as theater-for-development). Relevant theories of development management informed the investigation, with a specific focus on institutional development, inter-organizational collaboration, and trust-building.

    She has published articles in: Most of the academic articles that have cited Jayne's work are listed at Jayne's Google Scholar Account.


    Me and my VERA from BPEACE In November 2010, Jayne received a VERA (Volunteer Excellence Recognition Award) from Business Council for Peace (BPEACE), a USA-based nonprofit that recruits business professionals to help entrepreneurs in countries emerging from war, like Rwanda and Afghanistan, to create and expand businesses and employment (particularly for women). "We annually search amongst our hard working member/volunteers to identify those, among so many, who deserve a particular call-out and recognition..." She won the "Purple Heart VERA", for helping to support a gentleman in Afghanistan who wants to start a cleaning business. Jayne "bravely delivered detailed technical advice... and urged him to stretch to meet his goals of starting a commercial cleaning business." Unfortunately, he ultimately dropped out of the program. "And that has to hurt." Yeah, it did a little, but Jayne then turned her energies to helping the other BPEACE advocates with their entrepreneurs and doing some other volunteering with BPEACE -- all of it online.

    Jayne was named one of the Top 25 Women of the Web in 2001 by the San Francisco Women of the Web. She's still wondering when someone will send the "just kidding" e-mail.

    As an online volunteer, Jayne regularly contributes career advice via Goodwill Industries' GoodProspects program, advising people who are looking for a job or a career change. 

    Jayne regularly contributes to various civil society/mission-based-organization-related online discussion groups. She is a top contributor regarding volunteerism, community service, nonprofit management and humanitarian careers on Quora. Since 2008, she has been the top contributor (most answers voted "best") on the Yahoo!Answers Community service forum, and among the top three on the Yahoo!Answers Careers & Employment/Government & Non-Profit fora.

    Additional paid and pro bono assignments: You can read a more complete list of her own experiences as a volunteer and her thoughts and resources on volunteer motivations, volunteer management and volunteerism in general.


    From February 1995 to April 1996, Jayne was the internal communications manager at Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network (she built the original JV Web site and those of most of its 13 affiliated organizations in 1995, and edited Joint Venture's landmark publication The Joint Venture Way: Lessons for Regional Rejuvenation). She lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for six years before moving to Austin, Texas in Fall 1996. She has also worked at Maxtor Corporation, managing this Fortune 500 company's community giving program and employee volunteer program; the star-studded and internationally-acclaimed Williamstown Theatre Festival (NYC & Massachusetts), where she was Publicity Director (1990); and the Tony-Award winning Hartford Stage Company, where she also worked in public and press relations (1988-1990). She worked in publicity for the Capital Arts Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and was publicity director for WKU's children's theater series in the Fall of 1987. She began her professional career as a journalist writing for the Henderson Gleaner, in her hometown in Kentucky, followed by the College Heights Herald at Western Kentucky University

    Travel & Tourism For Development

    Jayne loves visiting or living in other countries and has visited, worked in or lived in more than 30 countries and more than 30 states in the USA. She is a believer in transire benefaciendo: to travel along while doing good, and in tourism as a sustainable tool for the development of communities all over the world. Her article "Doing Good On Vacation in a Developing Country," was the highest rated and most-popular volunteer-related article by far on the now-defunct Bluelist by Lonely Planet. The most popular page on her entire web site provides advice for those moving to Germany, and she also has a page of Advice for Women Aid Workers in Afghanistan, based on her own experience there. The travel section of her web site also provides Advice for Hotels, Hostels & Campgrounds in Transitional & Developing Countries: The Qualities of Great, Cheap Accommodations. The most-popular web page on her site for many years was Camping With Your Dog(s), which is still visited by thousands of people each month.


    In October 2005, Jayne completed the requirements for a MSc in Development Management (how to start, manage and sustain human, community and institutional development initiatives) at Open University, with the submission of her final research project (which, shockingly enough was not on volunteerism but, rather, on theater as a tool for development). She received her diploma in December 2005. You can read about development topics of particular interest to her.

    She received her B.A. in Journalism (with minors in both theater and history) from Western Kentucky University. In 2005, she passed the initial level exam in the Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE) (certification for basic abilities in Spanish), and is currently studying for the next level. She completed the following classes that are part of the Professional Certificate for Nonprofit Management (in the first year it was offered), San José State University (California): Fund Raising, Board Governance & Leadership, Financial Management, Human Resources, and Strategic Planning & Needs Assessments. She has also been trained in planning and evaluation by Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation (PIRE).

    Jayne is or has been a member of
        the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels,
    promoting "Kentucky's opportunity, heritage, history, and entertainment."
      picture of Jayne Cravens in 2001 in a tower of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
    Jayne finds it fascinating to talk about herself in the third person...

    Career Women's Up Close & Virtual profiled Jayne in 1998. In May 2001, Jayne blabbled endlessly to the folks at Tech Ranch, a nationally-syndicated radio program, which featured her for an entire week. And Jayne recently found an interview she did for the Chronicle of Philanthropy that she has no memory of whatsoever: regarding what her early days in theater public relations and marketing taught her that she still utilizes in her current work (I know those are my words, but I don't remember ever saying them to anyone...)

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