The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook

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

Completely revised and updated!
Published January 2014.

On Volunteerism & Volunteer Management

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    This section of my web site is a portal to the various volunteerism and volunteer engagement resources I've created or to which I've contributed. It includes:
    • my essays and resources about volunteer engagement/management and volunteerism (community engagement) not published elsewhere online, including information about virtual volunteering, microvolunteering, online mentoring, international volunteering, family volunteering, tech volunteering and employees on-loan/corporate volunteers.

    • various volunteerism and volunteer engagement/management resources I've created, or to which I've contributed, for other organizations, including the United Nations, on subjects such as virtual volunteering, using handheld technologies as part of volunteering activities, and the essential role volunteers play in community technology centers/community media centers, particularly in high-poverty areas.

    • my own experiences as a volunteer and my thoughts on volunteer motivations, volunteer engagement and volunteerism in general.

    • my favorite resources regarding volunteer engagement and volunteerism, outstanding and essential books and online resources from trusted, established people and organizations.

    • resources for volunteers: advice for teens who want to volunteer, advice for volunteers who want to hold a fundraising event, advice for people who want to volunteer abroad, and so much more.

    my essays and resources about volunteer management and volunteerism:
    • Myths About Virtual Volunteering
      A list of common myths about virtual volunteering - engaging and supporting volunteers online - and my attempt to counter them.

    • Studies and Research Regarding Virtual Volunteering
      A compilation of research regarding virtual volunteering - the most comprehensive list you will find anywhere - and a list of suggested possible angles for researching online volunteering. New contributions to this page are welcomed - research can be about any aspect of engaging unpaid people online, even if it never mentions the term virtual volunteering, such as volunteers that contribute to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

    • Virtual Volunteering Wiki
      A compilation of resources regarding virtual volunteering, including a list of RSS feeds, a frequently updated list of news articles and blogs, and a history of virtual volunteering.

    volunteerism and volunteer-management resources I've created, or to which I've contributed, for other organizations, including the United Nations:
    • The Online Volunteering service (formerly at NetAid), allows organizations serving the developing world to recruit and involve online volunteers. In addition to the recruitment and management features on the site, the service also provides extensive information to help both organizations and individuals to get the most out of online volunteering.

    • The UNITeS, the United Nations Information Technology Service, an initiative launched by the UN Secretary General that promotes volunteerism as fundamental to information and communications technologies for development (ICT4D). Two resources in particular were developed by me:
      • Using Instant Messaging to Work With Volunteers: Benefits and Suggestions
        The advantages of using Instant Messaging (IM) with volunteers, based on feedback from various online discussion groups, from the staff experiences of the United Nations Information Technology Service, and various other resources. Here is the archived version from November 2002, and here is the updated version.

      • Handheld computer technologies in community service/volunteering/advocacy
        Examples of volunteers/citizens/grass roots advocates using handheld computer / personal digital assistants (PDAs) or phone devices as part of community service / volunteering / advocacy, or examples that could be applied to volunteer settings. Also included is a section on Advocacy, and a listing of Online Software Directories for Handhelds.

      • Volunteers: Essential to ICT projects in developing countries
        Why the UNITeS initiative believed that volunteers are an essential and fundamental element to the success of information and communications technology (ICT) efforts in underdeveloped communities.

      • Assisting Others As An Expert Volunteer
        This article was part of the online Knowledge Base hosted by UNITeS. It is an example of the kinds of resources that were a part of the UNITeS Knowledge Base to help volunteers applying ICT in the developing world, and to help organizations who wanted to involve such volunteers.

      • UNITeS Contributions to the UNESCO Multimedia Training Kit
        The UNV staff managing the UNITeS initiative was invited to prepare a module on volunteers in telecentres and community media organizations for the UNESCO Multimedia Training Kit (MMTK). The module includes a slide show presentation, exercises, case studies and trainer notes.

    • Communicating with Volunteers: Making the Most of Your Options, practical tips on using various communications means, including the Internet, to engage and support volunteers. This module is featured in e-Volunteerism, a quarterly subscription-based online publication spearheaded by two internationally-known volunteerism consultants, Steve McCurley and Susan J. Ellis. e-Volunteerism caters to volunteer leaders/managers who want to go beyond the usual, basic volunteerism issues, and delve into more advanced, complex issues. This is part of an overall module I prepared for Everyone Ready , an extensive volunteer management staff development plan for national organizations by Energize, Inc.

    • The Virtual Volunteering Project, which, when I directed it from December 1996 to January 2001, 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 the most comprehensive information available, on or offline, regarding online mentoring programs and best practices.

    • "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).

    • "Learning From The 'Not-So-Nice' Volunteers," published by Merrill Associates as the Topic of the Month for December 2004

    • Sanchez Elementary School Online Mentoring Program
      Jayne designed this program, designed the web site, and recruited, screened and trained the online volunteers who participated in this program to mentor two classes at Sanchez Elementary School in Austin, Texas, as part of the Virtual Volunteering Project. This web site, sans mentor and student information and interactive functionality, is provided to help others, particularly schools, to develop their own online mentoring programs.

    • AmeriCorps for Community Engagement and Education Program (ACEE)
      VISTA School Volunteer Management Handbook

      A resource guide from 1998 for VISTAs in charge of managing school-based volunteers for Sanchez Elementary School in Austin, Texas through the ACEE program, and a good model for managing school-based volunteers anywhere.

    • Community Engagement and Volunteerism Resources for Texas K-12 Schools
      Part of the Texas Education Network (TENET), this web portal is for school administrators, teachers, parent/family volunteers, and others who coordinate volunteer and community partnership activities between schools and other organizations, including businesses. It has become a nationally-recognized web site. To view the site, cut and paste into

    • Part of the Texas Education Network (TENET), this web portal is for school administrators, teachers, parent/family volunteers, and others who coordinate volunteer and community partnership activities between schools and other organizations, including businesses. It has become a nationally-recognized web site. To view the site, cut and paste into

    • Various comments made per volunteerism-related topics at Energize, Inc Hot Topic of the Month) and E-Volunteerism

      view my reviews of volunteerism books at:
       my volunteerism shelf

    resources for volunteers:
    (note that some these go to a different part of my web site that includes advertising)

    • Reality Check: Volunteering Abroad (especially for citizens of the USA)
      Times have changed drastically in the last 30 years regarding Americans and other "westerners" volunteering in other countries. The emphasis in local relief and development efforts is to empower local people, and to hire local people, whenever possible, to address their own issues, build their own capacities, and give them employment. This strategy is much more beneficial to local communities than to bring in an outside volunteer. That said -- the days of international volunteers are NOT numbered: there will always be a need for international volunteers, either to fill gaps in knowledge and service in a local situation, or because a more neutral observer/contributor is required. This new page provides tips on gaining the skills and experience that are critically needed to volunteer overseas.

    • Volunteering To Help After Major Disasters
      Whenever a disaster strikes, hundreds -- even thousands -- of citizens in the USA start contacting various organizations in an effort to try to volunteer onsite at the disaster site. But what many of these people don't realize is that spontaneous volunteers with no training and no affiliation can actually cause more problems than they alleviate in a disaster situation, particularly regarding disaster locations far from their home. If you want to be a part of the mobilization for a future disaster, here are tips to help you get into "the system," get training, and be in a position to make a real difference.

    • Ideas for Funding Your Volunteering Abroad Trip.

    • Where to find virtual volunteering opportunities, a list compiled because I get this question frequently.

    • Detailed information on Finding Community Service and Volunteering for Teens.

    • Detailed advice for volunteer groups / group volunteering.

    • Creating or Holding a Successful Fund Raising Event by volunteers.

    • Ideas for High-Impact Leadership Volunteering Tasks, including project ideas for the Girl Scouts Gold and Silver Awards, for

    You can see my academic / research work, including that which is related to volunteerism, at my profile on Most of the academic articles that have cited my work regarding virtual volunteering are listed at my Google Scholar account 

    Kofi Annan and Online Volunteering
    (I made the UN Secretary General laugh)
    A personal commentary about my encounter with Mr. Annan at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2003.

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