Where can I find online volunteering options for your company?
In addition to digitalvolunteering.org's directory (
- FFWD virtual volunteering
- VolunteerMatch virtual volunteering opportunities
- Catchafire skills-based volunteering
- United Nations Volunteers Online Volunteering
- (If there are others to add here, please reach out to us and we'll update this list!)
How do I evaluate an online volunteering option?
- How easy is the onboarding process? Ideally, volunteers can get started in minutes.
- Can volunteers participate on mobile or desktop devices? Maximize participation rates by supporting them wherever they are.
- How long does each volunteer session take? Longer sessions can sometimes reduce participation and retention rates.
- Is it an on-demand, flexible self-service opportunity or must volunteer sessions be scheduled? Participation rates go up dramatically when volunteers can volunteer on their own schedule, ad-hoc. Also, your program management complexity goes down.
- Do volunteers use their knowledge and skills for the program? Volunteers like knowing that their knowledge is relevant to the impact they're having.
- Does the program scale up to the size of your company? Can it accommodate dozens, hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of volunteers at a time? How does that compare to your company's size?
- Does the program allow for your entire employee base to participate? If you can run one program that works for office workers, call center workers, retail store workers, senior executives, and everyone else, then you'll find a simpler communications approach and a much simpler portfolio of initiatives at the end of the year.
- Is it aligned with your company's philanthropic focus areas? What are your company's philanthropic funding goals?
How does promoting online volunteering differ from traditional volunteering?
An Animated Gif is worth a Million Words: Online volunteering is so new that most people still don't know what it's like. This is not the case with traditional volunteering programs like painting walls, planting trees, and building houses. So the most important thing you need to do differently is to show, not tell. If you show what the experience looks like, you'll get far more engagement from volunteers than if you just tell them what it is with words.
Do it live: Hosting live webinars or in-person activities are a natural way to get volunteers started. It's as simple as booking a Zoom or reserving a conference room and sending out invites. Make sure that the nonprofit partner you select has agendas, slides, and experience related to using their online activity in live events (in person or remote).
Use multiple communication channels: Email is a must, but communicating using multiple channels is significantly more effective than just one. For example, the CareerVillage.org team tends to use 3+ of the following channels during corporate partnership programs:
- "In Real Life" Channels
- Company conference
- Team meetings/All-hands meetings
- Lunch & Learn
- Live gatherings (for example the CareerVillage.org "Advice Mob")
- In-office signage
- Cafeteria/conference room/reception table cards
- "Deskdrops” like handout flyers and one-pagers
- Promotional items/swag
- Employees’ screensavers
- Digital channels
- Internal messaging apps like Slack/Chatter
- Company newsletter
- Company blog
- Company intranet
- Calendar invites directly onto Employee’s calendars
- Social media accounts (e.g. inviting your nonprofit partner to take over the Company’s Instagram account for an afternoon)