Everyone is buzzing about social media, hoping to “go viral” and grab the attention of prospective new volunteers. But, for most organizations, the medium is not the message. Susan examines how the basic principles of volunteer recruitment still apply in our electronic age.
As social technologies evolve, more and more people use mobile media in new and creative ways in volunteering. This has become most obvious in the recent development of micro-volunteering. Micro-volunteering allows people to contribute to projects remotely, from their computers or their smart phones, in small, but nevertheless significant ways. Here are some recently launched micro-volunteering initiatives.
For some time now I have been impressed at the level and quality of the blogs and discussions across the pond in the UK via the social action platform, i-Volunteer.org,uk. A range of volunteer management practitioners use this forum to post thoughtful commentary, often on provocative themes, and – amazingly – other members respond in kind! Bravo to our British colleagues!
Colleague Sue Jones from Volunteer Centre Warrington, England, is our guest blogger today – and invites you to learn about and be a part of a weekly volunteer management “Tweet chat” that happens every Thursday.
Every week, we host a ‘Tweet chat’ discussion focusing on volunteer management issues, which we call ‘Thoughtful Thursday’. We use the Social Action Network i-volunteer to blog about our selected topic or focus and then encourage participants to comment, share ideas and discuss the issues raised via Twitter.
TechSoup.org, the well-respected and invaluable site that provides “technology products and information geared specifically to the unique challenges faced by nonprofits and libraries,” has been connecting technology experts and community organizations through volunteer consulting for a long time. Their TechSoup Community Forum, for example, permits agencies to post questions and get useful answers at no charge.
Building on that successful forum and connecting it to Twitter, TechSoup has just launched Donate Your Brain! (DYB) as a micro-volunteering initiative, allowing “anyone, anywhere, to help nonprofits and other community organizations with quick answers and suggestions for their Internet, software, and other tech needs.” And they mean "anywhere" -- the service is international.
13 March: On Thursday, March 24, 2011, at 2:30 p.m. EST, the YEF Institute and the National League of Cities (NLC, www.nlc.org) will host a free, hour-long, audio conference on "Community Attachment and Civic Engagement: Key Lessons and Opportunities for Municipal Leaders." Speakers on this call will highlight effective civic engagement strategies, with particular attention to innovative technology approaches, youth involvement, and promoting inclusion and civility. Register online.
Rosenthal recounts how Wael Ghonim, a computer programmer and marketing executive employed by Google in Dubai, asked for a leave of absence to return to his home in Egypt and became instrumental in deploying social networking to push forward the successful protests against Hosni Mubarak. Rosenthal notes:
Ghonim has also become a symbol of the volunteers at the heart of social change in the Arab world. From online protests sparked by younger Egyptians…with experience using the internet, to the crowd of more than 2 million that packed Cairo’s Tahrir Square on February 10, the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 has been like all revolutions – a volunteer-led effort to make the world a better place.
23 January: A new national survey released last week by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has found that 75% of all American adults are active in some kind of voluntary group or organization and Internet users are more likely than others to be active. “The Social Side of the Internet” reports that 80% of Internet users participate in groups, compared with 56% of non-Internet users. Moreover, social media users are even more likely to be active: 82% of social network users and 85% of Twitter users are group participants.
Breaking the stereotype of loner Web surfers, 80% of Web users surveyed volunteer, vs. 56% of those who don't go online, the report said. It said 85% of Twitter users are active volunteers. Of those respondents active in groups, 48% had a page on a social-networking site, while 30% had their own blog and 16% communicated with other group members via Twitter.
Energize, Inc. (EI): What gave you the idea for writing this book?
Scott Stevenson (SS): We know the need for volunteer service is on the rise, particularly in light of the nation’s economy; while people may be more hard-pressed to make charitable donations, they may be more inclined to give of their time. And because volunteering is on the rise, website communication offers a highly cost-effective way of communicating and interacting with both volunteers and would-be volunteers. Nonprofit organizations and associations are increasingly devoting more website space to volunteer issues.