This is an archived version of the Virtual Volunteering Project web site from January 2001.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The Virtual Volunteering Project web site IS NO LONGER UPDATED.
Email addresses associated with the Virtual Volunteering Project are no longer valid.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

 
Developing Assignments
From How the Virtual Volunteering Project Involves Online Volunteers
by Jayne Cravens, Project Manager

 
Before I do any recruitment of online volunteers, I develop descriptions for at least 10 short-term online assignments. I want to always have at least that many ready to give out.

To create short-term assignments, I make a list of things I need done regarding gathering more information. I also look for text documents I need converted to .HTML that are eventually, but not urgently, needed online (such as converting back issues of my Project's electronic newsletter into Web pages).

To create other assignments, I make an inventory of everything that needs to be accomplished in the next two-three months, and look for pieces of these tasks that could be completed, either wholly or partially, online. I also think about ways to divide up a task into even smaller pieces -- items that would take five hours or less to complete.

For instance, I conduct online outreach campaigns regularly to tell people about this Project and generate collaborations. I identify groups from a variety of sources - attendees to key conferences, other recipients of grants from organizations that also fund this project, etc. Every few months, I need to get more information for some agencies in my database (sometimes, I have only the organization's name and city or state of operation; I need their mailing address, phone number, URL, etc.). Every three months, I go into my database and generate a list of the organizations I have only partial information for, and I create an assignment for an online volunteer to find the additional information via online search engines and online yellow pages.

I also looked at ways other agencies involved volunteers online, to think about other assignments I could create. Practice has helped the most: once I had defined the first dozen or so online projects, it became much easier to regularly look for and create new ones. The result is, whenever I'm making a list of things I'm working on or need to work on, I always have an eye out for pieces of the job that an online volunteer could help with; it's become second nature, and I always have several short-term online tasks ready to assign.

In writing assignment descriptions, I've found that it's best to be as detailed as possible in suggesting how the volunteer approach the assignment. At first, my assignments were written as brief as possible, and the volunteer ended up e-mailing several questions before any work could begin. By including much more detail, the volunteer feels more confident in jumping right into the job.

In every assignment, I include:

Some assignments that online volunteers have taken on for the Project include:

You can see a list of what various online volunteers have done for the Virtual Volunteering Project at http://www.serviceleader.org/vv/vols01.html

 
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.


 

Copyright © 1999 - 2000 The University of Texas at Austin
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).
 

If you liked the content of this web page, subscribe to Jayne's blog so you can know when new information on this subject is available. Don't have an RSS reader to subscribe to blogs? Not sure what RSS is? Try this RSS tutorial.

about Jayne Cravens | contact Jayne Cravens