This is an archived version of the Virtual Volunteering Project web site from January 2001.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The Virtual Volunteering Project web site IS NO LONGER UPDATED.
Email addresses associated with the Virtual Volunteering Project are no longer valid.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

 
Staying In-Touch & Online Safety
From How the Virtual Volunteering Project Involves Online Volunteers
by Jayne Cravens, Project Manager

 
As is noted in the online orientation I use, online volunteers must report in each week by e-mail (either Friday or Monday -- the choice is theirs), noting:

The write an e-mail that summarizes these items as well, upon completion of their assignment.

It's easy for even the most commited person to put a volunteer assignment at the end of a list of things to do, particularly if the assignment isn't urgent. So I always put a deadline on any assignment, at least two weeks, but no more than one month. By giving everything a deadline, both the volunteer and I have a natural "out" -- if the assignment isn't completed, I can give it to someone else, or, give the volunteer more time, depending on the situation. It also makes it easier to keep track of assignments.

Once a volunteer completes an assignment, I review the information within 48 hours and send the volunteer an e-mail offering praise for the work, details on how the information is going to be used (what Web page it will appear on eventually, what the completed assignment will now allow me to do, etc.), and, sometimes, suggestions for future assignments. Online volunteers seem to really love knowing what impact their online work has. I also tell them that, if they would like another assignment, now or in the future, to please let me know. This is the volunteer's chance to stop volunteering, to take a break, or to jump right into another assignment.

At least three times a month, I communicate with all volunteers via an e-mail list they must all subscribe to (it's one of the ways I know if they have read the online volunteer orientation or not, which they receive upon submission of their volunteer application). This is my chance to check in, remind volunteers to check in, offer to answer questions, make everyone feel valued and connected to the overall Project, offer the latest updates on the Project or other resources they might be interested in, offer the latest opportunities to those waiting for an assignment, and to re-enforce the importance of completing online assignments.

Once every other month, I also send volunteers a reminder about our volunteer policies and code of conduct, reminding volunteers about online safety, representing the Project to others, and various other guidelines. This is part of our efforts to ensure the online safety of our volunteers.

I try to make these e-mails casual and friendly. These e-mails prompt people who haven't reported in a while to do so, and gives people a chance to graciously withdraw from volunteering virtually as needed. It's also a way for me to invoke more personality in my e-mails; they don't see me face-to-face, and this is my way to make up for that.

Here are examples of my regular e-mails to online volunteers working on this Project.

After a volunteer has worked with me six months or more, I ask him or her to evaluate his or her online volunteer experience; I e-mail the volunteer my own version of the questions outlined on the sample volunteer survey on our Web site. This feedback is essential to help me adjust my management of online volunteers as needed, as well as giving me quotes that serve as endorsements of the program (great to include in funding proposals!).

In addition to these forms of acknowledgement of the volunteers' contribution, volunteers can display our special logo on their own Web site or within their signature file that recognizes them as an online volunteer for this Project, and their names and contributions are listed on a Web page (along with this logo).

 
Other parts of this section:


 
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