November 23, 2017

Add Tech Volunteers to Your Team

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard
It’s almost impossible to effectively recruit and manage volunteers today without fully engaging technology.  Successful volunteer   managers increasingly…

• Use volunteer management software to streamline their operations
• Maximize their organization’s website by posting volunteer applications, newsletters, position descriptions, photos,  videos, and more
• Utilize social networking sites
• Post and update volunteer positions on online recruitment sites
• Take advantage of free online software and tools like wikis and Google docs
• Blog and Twitter
• Employ multiple methods to communicate with volunteers including text messaging, Skype, and list-serves.

If you don’t have the staff or skills to manage this brave new world, you can improve your chances of success by adding tech volunteers to your team.  And, these individuals don’t  have to live in your community to be helpful!

Before you go in search of help, be sure to download TechSoup’s free manual,  Working with Technical Volunteers: A Manual for NPOs. This recently updated guide includes the latest tech specs to use during volunteer interviews. The manual also includes comprehensive worksheets, sample applications, volunteer contracts, and questionnaires.

Once you’ve developed your plan and written your volunteer position descriptions, you”ll want to begin your search.

Here are a few suggestions for building your team and finding individuals with the right skills:

1. Contact your local volunteer center, RSVP, or national volunteer matching programs such as http://www.volunteermatch.com or http://www.techsoup.org.
2. Get permission to put a notice on an electronic bulletin board or get included in an in-house newsletter at local corporations and high-tech companies.
3. Check with instructors at area high schools, colleges or technical schools for qualified students who may want some actual experience designing web sites and working on similar projects.
4. Try contacting university departments and campus organizations related to technology such as engineering and computer science.
5. Ask  colleagues at other nonprofits in  your community where they go for technical volunteers.
6. Ask board members and volunteers if they know of someone or if they can tell you where to post a job description.
7. User groups or clubs meet either in person or online to discuss different types of hardware and software. Look for them in your local computer newspaper (if you have one) or on the Internet. Yahoo! and Google user groups, Craigslist.org, and Yahoo’s hardware user groups are good places to start.

Related articles:

“Engaging Techie Volunteers,”  Judicious Web, April 23, 2009

“Technology Acceleration: Grab Hold and Hang On,”  Susan Ellis, Energizeinc.com, June 2007

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