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Planning an online volunteering assignment

A well-planned assignment is the starting point for a successful online collaboration.

22 May 2016

Before posting an opportunity for online volunteers to engage in your organization’s work, make sure to:

Clearly define the task:

Analyze your organization’s needs and break them down into well-defined tasks. An assignment focusing on one distinct task will increase your chances of finding qualified online volunteers for the assignment.

Decide how many online volunteers to involve:

Think about whether the task you have in mind is best performed by one volunteer or by a several online volunteers. If you decide to involve more than one online volunteer, think about how you will divide the work and organize the collaboration between the volunteers. Potential applicants will find this information helpful if included in the opportunity description.

Arrange enough time:

Consider that managing online volunteers requires time. You will need to respond to applicants, provide orientation at the beginning, guidance throughout and final feedback at the end of the collaboration. You should also be in a position to make use of the online volunteers’ contributions immediately – online volunteers are eager to see the impact of their work.

Set up a schedule:

A rough schedule outlined in the assignment description will help interested online volunteers decide whether they can commit to the task. In addition, a clear end date gives you and the volunteers the opportunity to acknowledge accomplishments, evaluate your collaboration and decide whether or not to continue working together.

Prepare to start immediately:

Online volunteers apply for your assignment when their personal and work schedule allows for volunteering during their spare time – they are usually ready to start the collaboration with your organization immediately.