Nonprofit News from 4imprint
As a busy not for profit organisation, you know that having volunteers to lend a helping hand can be a real lifesaver! Thankfully, the internet makes it easier than ever to involve volunteers in your organisation’s activities.

Now, we’re not talking about recruiting volunteers online for real-world events and opportunities (although that’s a great idea, too!). Rather, a whole new breed of volunteers has emerged in recent years that your non-profit can harness for philanthropic good: the virtual volunteer.

Virtual volunteers donate their time and perform tasks from their own computer, away from your organisation’s location. They are a valuable asset to any growing non-profit, as they can volunteer at any time of day. In this e-newsletter, we’ll outline a broad list of virtual volunteer opportunities that your non-profit may want to consider, as well as some necessary logistic points to get the ball rolling!

Lay the foundation

In order for a virtual volunteer force to be successful in your organisation; you need to make sure that the whole team is on board:

Choose someone internally to lead the effort – your designated ‘Virtual Volunteer Manager.’ Brief him or her on where you see the programme going, its short-and long-term goals and what ultimate benefits it will provide to the organisation. If your non-profit is large enough, designate a “Virtual Volunteer Management Team” of three to four colleagues to champion the effort.

Include the rest of the staff. The more people who know about the virtual volunteer programme, the more successful it will be! Encourage team members to send any virtual opportunities to their managers as well to boost organisation-wide involvement.

Create a web page for listing all of your virtual volunteer opportunities. This can be done in a variety of ways, from consistently keeping a page of your website updated, to a more comprehensive database solution, to uploading the opportunities onto a national database like www.do-it.org.uk or www.csv.org.uk/volunteering

Showcase the opportunities

If you’re not sure how to get started in formulating your list of virtual volunteer opportunities, read below for some inspiration. Then, after you’ve roped in some stellar virtual volunteers, be sure to make them feel part of the team with free printed T-shirts or more useful Notebooks and Pens – perfect for any volunteer!

Member Oriented

  • Member management – Maintaining a contact database
  • Follow-up e-mails
  • Online mentoring

Website & Marketing

  • Website maintenance
  • Designer – Marketing materials, website, blog
  • E-newsletter creation and management
  • News release writing
  • Social media consultant

Content

  • Content generation – Articles, blog posts, website content
  • Content editing
  • Multimedia production
  • Film Maker – to post to YouTube™ etc
  • Podcasting

Events

  • Online invitation creation and distribution
  • Tweet (using Twitter®) from events

Regular Tasks

  • Accounting
  • Virtual assistant
  • Researching
  • Photography
  • Translation
  • Transcription of meeting notes, videos, etc.
  • Online survey creation

Manage the volunteer flow

Once you’ve got a steady flow of virtual volunteers going in and out, it’s time to manage them like you would your regular volunteers. Provide them with monthly feedback reports and keep them informed about any new opportunities that you feel they’d be interested in. Consider formulating a Volunteer Rewards Programme for all volunteers, virtual ones included, that offers rewards for hours volunteered each month. Great tech rewards for your virtual team could include printed USB Flashdrives, MP3 Players or Laptop Bags.

Virtual volunteering is a great way to get a whole new group of people involved with your organisation. Consider implementing a related programme to boost your non-profit’s impact today!