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Social Media and Internet Technology

Ways to use online tools to recruit and work more effectively with volunteers.

11 Steps to Success with Social Networking, Katya Andresen & Stacie Mann, 2008
Addressing Volunteerism Issues in the Blogosphere, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2011
Can Nonprofit Boards Vote by Email?, Gene Takagi and Emily Nicole Chan, 2009
Civic Engagement and the Internet: Online Volunteers, Mary C. Joyce
posting to Internet & Democracy Blog, Nov. 2007 -- note discussion of possible underutilization of willing online volunteers.
DoSomething Uses Trademark Humor to Say Sorry for Text-Message Error, Nicole Wallace, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 2015

Wise words for dealing with social media mistakes and also with young people. Also see the DoSomething blog post at https://blog.dosomething.org/how-to-piss-off-2-1-million-people-and-how-....

Economic Development, Internet Technology, and Volunteers, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2004
Everydayhero Launches in the United States, Pioneering the Next Generation of Online Giving, Marketwire Blog, 2014

About Everydayhero, an online giving service from Blackbaud that lets people track their philanthropic activities.

Facebook for Volunteers, Chris Bernard, NTen Change Journal, 2011
Formulating a Web Strategy for your Nonprofit, Robin Zeff, The Nonprofit Guide to the Internet, p.138, John Wiley & Sons, 1996
How Charities Can Raise Money With Twitter and Other Social-Networking Tools
transcript of live discussion in Nov. 2008 held by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Also see transcript of Social-Media Workshop: How Nonprofit Groups Can Use Online Tools to Build Awareness and Raise Money, from February 2009.
How I Use Twitter, Jayne Cravens, 2011
How to Handle Online Criticism, Jayne Cravens, 2006
If Google Can’t Find the People Who Lead Volunteers, No One Can, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2015
If Not Your Home Page, Then Where?, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2000
Introducing #ThankQThursday, 2010
an initiative to recognize volunteers through Twitter, started by i-volunteer in the UK
NetActivism, Ed Schwartz, NetActivism, pp. 17-18, O'Relly & Associate, Inc, 1996
Online Information Overload -- and How to Cope, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2010
Online Spying Can Improve Your Volunteer Management Skills, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2006
The Perfect Volunteer Storm, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2012
Recruiting Computer/Network Consultants, Jayne Cravens, 2011
(paid or volunteer/pro bono)
The Social Side of the Internet, 2010
report 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.
Technology Acceleration: Grab Hold and Hang On, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2007
Ten Time-Tested Volunteer Recruitment Tips that Still Work, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2014
What Is Participatory Journalism?, J. D. Lasica, Online Journalism Review, 2003

The line between journalism and personal publishing is a blurry one, thanks to new ubiquitous tools that make it possible for anyone to publish and report news.

Why Telecollaborative Projects Sometimes Fail: Taboo Topic No Longer, Judi Harris, Learning & Leading with Technology, 2000

Why do some educational telecollaborations in near-perfect conditions fail? What can be learned from these puzzling events about how to sustain and support online projects.

Study by Vic Murray and Yvonne Harrison of the University of Victoria, for the Canadian Centre on Philanthropy. , 2002
From MediaTrust and i-volunteer (UK), emphasizing social media , 2010, pp. 76
Report by Manuel Acevedo on worldwide involvement of volunteers in information and communications technology (ICT), especially related to human development. , 2005
TechSoup Global handbook for recruiting, matching and managing technical volunteers, particularly for assignments in Web design, DOC, PDF , 2009, pp. 60
ammado

ammado connects nonprofits, socially responsible companies and engaged individuals in an interactive and unique environment, harnessing the power of the Internet to accelerate communication, awareness and fundraising. It started in 2007 and is available in 12 languages.

Care2

A social network site that makes "it easy for everyone to live a healthy, green lifestyle and impact the causes they care about most." Example of a thriving online community (over 10 million members).

#Charity (Hashtag Charity)

Based in Hungary and with a $250,000 starting grant, HashtagCharity (#Charity) claims to already have signed up 600 technology/Web-skilled volunteers and will match them to small nonprofits anywhere in the world. What's unique is that they have created a way to mine the volunteers' profiles on LinkedIn to determine successful matches with projects. Check it out and see if you can get some expert help.

CharityHowTo

Provides instant-access video training guides and courses to help nonprofits to utilize the Internet in easy, and often free, ways to engage their constituency, communicate their mission, and develop relationships that ultimately help to aquire and maintain donors.

Clictivist

"A place to discuss and dissect the successes, failures, and practices of online activism." Micro-volunteering actions for "digital campaigning, one click at a time."

Convio Connection

Sample articles from free bimonthly newsletter for nonprofits on how to attract constituents, drive action, and build loyalty through online relationship management.

Coyote Communications Technology Tip Sheets

Jayne Cravens, the guru of virtual volunteering, has been maintaining this personal Web site since 1996 amd offers a wealth of tips sheets on all sorts of Internet-related subjects for nonprofits in general and volunteer program managers in particular. Always on the cutting-edge of technology, Jayne has provided a wonderfully welcoming and informative podcast, talking about how podcasts can be used by nonprofits, and just how easy it is to do. http://www.coyotecommunications.com/podcasts/jayne_01.mp3.

ePhilanthropy Foundation

Educational organization helping nonprofits to use best Internet practices in online fundraising and communication, and to foster the effective and safe use of the Internet for philanthropic purposes. (Acquired by Network for Good in July 2008)

Google Earth Outreach

Site explaining the application of mapping tools provided free by Google, with emphasis on how these tools can be used by nonprofits.  With tutorials and examples.

Handheld Technologies and Volunteering

Information compiled by the United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS) on how PDAs or handheld computer technologies are used around the world in community service/volunteering/advocacy.

Idealware

"Idealware, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides thoroughly researched, impartial and accessible resources about software to help nonprofits make smart software decisions." The site offers a wide variety of free reports, articles, and links to information on Internet technology, social media, and use of software -- including for boards and other volunteers.

iEarn

"iEARN is a non-profit organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 140 countries. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. Over 2,000,000 students each day are engaged in collaborative project work worldwide."  There is a particularly good area of the site explaining telementoring and linking to more resources.

Jayne Cravens Blog

One of the field's first blogs run by Jayne Cravens, expert in online volunteering, that offers great information and insight on volunteerism as well as nonprofit, development, and women's issues.

Knowbility

Knowbility, Inc. is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the independence of children and adults with disabilities by promoting the use and improving the availability of accessible information technology. Many ideas for working with volunteers with disabilities.

NetAction / The Virtual Activist

Site dedicated to helping activists use Internet technology. Includes an archive of articles from 1996-2003 and a self-guided training course on "Using the Internet for Outreach and Organizing," available in English and Spanish at:http://www.netaction.org/training/versions.html

NetSquared

An initiative of TechSoup Global, this site wants "to jumpstart the leading edge of online technological change -- and to help nonprofits use that edge to change the world!" Explains the new generation of online tools available that make it easier than ever before to collaborate, share information and mobilize support.

Network for Good _ Social Networking Learning Area

Articles, updated tips, and case studies on how to use blogs, social networking sites, and other online tools to raise and communicate with supporters.

nfpSynergy

This UK consulting and research firm provides free -- and well-written -- reports on many aspects of trends in nonprofit management, online charity outreach, and volunteering. You must register your e-mail address to download PDFs.

Nonprofit Commons Project

Managed by TechSoup Global, this a virtual community of practice for nonprofits to explore the opportunities and benefits of Second Life. You do not have to have an office in the Nonprofit Commons to get involved! This site provides documentation and other helpful information not only for NP Commons tenants, but for any nonprofit that is interested in learning about Second Life.

Online Community Toolkit

Although not written for volunteer managers, provides a wide range of materials on fostering "online community." A nice tool for fostering volunteer community.

Publicus.net

A site devoted to "public strategies for the online world," this link takes you an archive of articles about e-citizenship. Also see archive of postings to DoWire.org --Democracies Online

SixDegrees.org

Any one person is connected to any other person through six or fewer relationships, because it's a small world. SixDegrees.org (founded by Kevin Bacon and Network for Good) is about using this idea to accomplish something good (social networking with a social conscience). Support favorite charities by donating or creating fundraising *badges* - as well as check out the favorite causes of other people, including celebrities.

The Social Animal

Practical social media and Web 2.0 advice for animal welfare advocates, but applicable to all and with many volunteer-related tips.

Social Citizens Blog - Glossary 2.0

Site utilizing the most innovative online technology for "social citizenship" offers this page defining blogs, wikis, and other tools (includes videos).

TechSoup

The "technology place for nonprofits" -- an overall great site. Browse the sections on "Community" and "Resources" for all sorts of information on using the Internet in your work with volunteers.

VolunteerHub Blog

Volunteer management software vendor, VolunteerHub, posts tips and advice along with notices about its new offerings, aiming to be a “hub” for volunteer management discussion.

VolunteerLocal

Online service to organize, manage, schedule and communicate with volunteers. The free version is especially good for scheduling volunteer shifts at events. The paid versions offer advanced features. Sponsor the vonteer matching site Happy Volunteering.

VoVici/Verint

A variety of articles on how to conduct online surveys and gain more participation from respondents.

Print and e-Books in Our Store

Book cover

All the guidelines and materials necessary for an e-mail exchange between students and senior partners.

book cover image
New

Understand the concept and practices of virtual volunteering and integrate online service successfully into your overall volunteer involvement strategy.

John Suart, the Canadian nonprofit humour writer and marketing consultant created this 4 minute video. "Announcing the official end of Words as a communications technique for non-profits. Forget writing a wall of words. Instead use video. It's effective, engaging and, now, accessible. See this video and see for yourself." Quite a case for producing videos for fundraising and recruiting volunteers.

Can Blogging Work for You
From Susan J. Ellis, President, Energize, Inc.

Blogging is one of those Internet options that has exploded in popularity and is still finding its limitations and potential. At its heart it's a simple concept: an online journal or diary, available to the public, with the capacity to offer text, audio and video and allow site visitors to reply (see the Wikipedia entry for "blog").


Like so much on the Web, blogs range wildly in value, from egotistical rants to arcane musings to truly useful commentaries or sources of information. They offer many different perspectives and personal experiences, and are increasingly used by the media as research sources. Volunteering is already a subject in the "blogosphere." Go to any of the blog search engines, such as Technorati, and do some exploring. The keyword "volunteering" found 12,433 results for me just now. Clearly someone is busy typing!


There are several ways you might use blogging to help in volunteer recruitment, recognition, general visibility, and professional exchange.


  • Ask whether any of your current volunteers already has a blog (you may be surprised!). Suggest that s/he include thoughts about her or his volunteer experiences in your organization in this existing blog. Since blog text can be hyperlinked, whenever a volunteer mentions your organization's name, it can allow the reader to click through to a page on your Web site that talks about volunteering. (Keep this in mind whenever volunteers receive special recognition or reach a milestone of service; remind them to include mention of this in their blogs.)
  • Start your own blog -- personally or by recruiting a volunteer to do so -- either on your organization's Web site or on an independent site. (There are many sites that allow you to start a blog for free, such as Google's Blogger.) Make the theme of the blog volunteering at your organization. Post announcements of public events, new volunteer position vacancies, volunteer training, winners of awards, etc.
  • Invite current volunteers, clients, and staff to be guest writers. Encourage them to share things such as:
    • Testimonials about volunteering and feelings of accomplishment
    • Interesting or funny volunteering experiences
    • Reflections on the meaning of their volunteering


    This therefore not only attracts the potential of prospective new volunteers, but it serves to recognize, appreciate and celebrate current volunteers.

  • Raise a "question of the month" and encourage everyone in your organization to respond.

You may worry about opening the door to unsolicited and unwanted postings. You have the choice of screening postings before they appear online or of letting everything go live but monitoring the site carefully and removing anything offensive. This is another good reason for assigning a volunteer as Blog Editor.