This page contains responses to the agency survey for December 16, 1997.

Click here to see the same responses organized by question.

Click here to see a list of responding organizations' names together with their location and date of response.

December 16, 1997

America Online
Organization Name
America Online
Organization City
Organization's Geographic Service Area
World Wide
Number of full-time and part-time employees (paid staff)
Respondent's Name
Rebecca Newton
Respondent's Position
Assistant Program Manager Recruitment and Orientation
Organization's Web Site Address
Respondent's Role in Working with Volunteers at Organization
I am responsible for recruitment and orientation of all AOL community leader volunteers. We currently have 9,500 volunteers.
How did you hear about this Project?
no response
What other staff have involved volunteers virtually at your organization?
300+ Forum Leaders/Recruiters for each forum or AOL community online.
Approximately how many of your online volunteers provide technical assistance to your staff or to other volunteers?
Please describe the kinds of activities these technical assistance volunteers provide to your organization:
computer programming, web design and maintenance, graphic design, intranet tool instruction, various other categories.
Approximately how many of your volunteers provide direct support to clients / recipients of service via the Internet?
Please describe the kinds of volunteer activities these direct contact volunteers provide to your organization:
Live time Chat, Message board monitoring, mentoring, training, guest chats.
How did you recruit the volunteers you involve(d) via the Internet?
The majority of recruitment is done within each forum or community. Blurbs or ads are placed within each forum explaining the benefits to the members and the forum's needs.
How did you screen/orient the volunteers you involve(d) via the Internet?
Online interviews take place after an application is filled out. AOL provides an account history check, as well.
How do you supervise and recognize/reward online volunteers for their contributions?
Each forum has several managers who supervise each team within their forum. All supervision is done online. Recognition comes in many forms: Discounts for Community Leaders from the AOL store; A free account; curriculums in training and management which are applicable to offline work are provided.
Have you ever surveyed these online volunteers about their experiences with your organization?
Yes. One month ago I began a survey of Forum Leaders and Recruiters and all the community leaders.
What factors in your organization have promoted the success of your virtual volunteering program?
On-site orientations, policies and procedures posted, establishing a sense of community within the volunteer sector, rapid advancement in online roles is often a factor as well.
What factors in your organization have impeded the success of your virtual volunteering program?
Communication (left hand, right hand)
Under 18's often posing as adults
Disruptive members harrassing volunteers
Please add any other comments you would like to send to us:
The AOL volunteer sector is a phenomenon in that AOL is a for-profit company yet we have less than 6% attrition rates with the volunteer force. We are now building a centralized recruitment and orientation area.

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