Net2 Think Tank Round-up: Donating Time and Talent Online
For this month's Net2 Think Tank we hoped to help expand online giving to a broader focus than simply online fundraising. Through the wonders of new technology, the process of donating money has become dead simple. So, we asked you, what can organizations do to make online contributions of time, talent, and skills just as simple? Who's doing it right and what should others be doing?
Below is the round-up of responses we received. Feel free to add your ideas in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
Let's call this what it is! Jayne Cravens reminded us that rather than referring to this as a "donation" of time and talent, that we should embrace the term "volunteering" so that we can realize it's true potential. She also provided several resources for people trying to start using the internet as a means for volunteering:
There is a massive amount of information online about involving volunteers and about using the Internet to support all volunteers, including those that provide most of their service onsite:
- For more about the basics of online volunteering (and to see just how widespread the practice has been for many years), see this archived version of the Virtual Volunteering Project.
- Here's more about the early practice of nonprofits using the Internet to engage people -- including online volunteers -- back in the 1980s & early 90s.
- This web page lists myths surrounding the practice of online volunteering.
- Here's a web page listing all of the research to date regarding online volunteering ("virtual volunteering")
- Here's another page that lists the various online tools that various nonprofits use to support their volunteers
- There's even a Wikipedia entry for online volunteering that lists many of the various ways people volunteer online.
Christine Ho and Olaf Dunn suggested Well of Change as one tool that is using the internet to harness the power of networks for good. Christine describes the service:
Well of Change is making it easier for individuals and businesses to raise money for charity by enabling everyone to donate their services such as: giving guitar lessons, baking cupcakes, making wedding invitations, providing dog walking services, teaching French... any skill under the sun!
Here’s how it works:
1. Volunteers sign-up to offer a service on WellofChange.org
2. Buyers make a donation online to receive these services
3. Proceeds raised from services rendered are directed back to any Canadian Charity or even your church
4. Together, volunteers & service buyers raise money to support a great cause. It's that easy!
Rachel Delcau from the Consortium Finance Network added that online volunteering can be completely online and needn't be any more complicated than sharing resources and ideas within a community. In her words,
The Consortium Finance Network utilizes volunteers in many capacities and adding content to the blog and LinkedIn group are primary ways people may contribute their time and talent online.
We have several volunteers who share their expertise on our blog, or have their blog linked to our blog. They then regenerate that information on the LinkedIn groups, in part.
Our blog then becomes an archive of information for folks in finance, and is a particularly good source of information for incoming MBA student considering a career in finance.
Additionally, we take the blog posts that are relevant to incoming students, and compile a ‘first year guide’ with hyperlinks to each post, categorized by the time of year they need to reference the information (e.g. the summer before school, the recruiting season, etc.).
To Rachel's point, Beth Kanter suggested finding ways that volunteers can help you create content and spread the word. For instance:
Does your organization provide opportunities for online volunteering? If so, leave a comment below and let us know how you're embracing it. If not, what are your struggles in providing these opportunities for your supporters?
About Net2 Think Tank:
Net2 Think Tank is a monthly blogging event open to anyone and is a great way to participate in an exchange of ideas. We post a question or topic to the NetSquared community and participants submit responses either on their own blogs or on the NetSquared Community Blog. Tag your post with "net2thinktank" and email a link to us to be included. At the end of the month, the entries get pulled together in the Net2 Think Tank Round-Up.