Social Media and Internet Technology

Ways to use online tools to recruit and work more effectively with volunteers.

Report by Manuel Acevedo on worldwide involvement of volunteers in information and communications technology (ICT), especially related to human development. , 2005
TechSoup Global handbook for recruiting, matching and managing technical volunteers, particularly for assignments in Web design, DOC, PDF , 2009, pp. 60

A social network site that makes "it easy for everyone to live a healthy, green lifestyle and impact the causes they care about most." Example of a thriving online community (over 10 million members).

#Charity (Hashtag Charity)

Based in Hungary and with a $250,000 starting grant, HashtagCharity (#Charity) claims to already have signed up 600 technology/Web-skilled volunteers and will match them to small nonprofits anywhere in the world. What's unique is that they have created a way to mine the volunteers' profiles on LinkedIn to determine successful matches with projects. Check it out and see if you can get some expert help.


Provides instant-access video training guides and courses to help nonprofits to utilize the Internet in easy, and often free, ways to engage their constituency, communicate their mission, and develop relationships that ultimately help to aquire and maintain donors.


"A place to discuss and dissect the successes, failures, and practices of online activism." Micro-volunteering actions for "digital campaigning, one click at a time."

Convio Connection

Sample articles from free bimonthly newsletter for nonprofits on how to attract constituents, drive action, and build loyalty through online relationship management.

Coyote Communications Technology Tip Sheets

Jayne Cravens, the guru of virtual volunteering, has been maintaining this personal Web site since 1996 amd offers a wealth of tips sheets on all sorts of Internet-related subjects for nonprofits in general and volunteer program managers in particular. Always on the cutting-edge of technology, Jayne has provided a wonderfully welcoming and informative podcast, talking about how podcasts can be used by nonprofits, and just how easy it is to do.

Google Earth Outreach

Site explaining the application of mapping tools provided free by Google, with emphasis on how these tools can be used by nonprofits.  With tutorials and examples.


"iEARN is a non-profit organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 140 countries. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. Over 2,000,000 students each day are engaged in collaborative project work worldwide."  There is a particularly good area of the site explaining telementoring and linking to more resources.


#iwill is a national campaign in the UK that aims to make social action part of life for as many 10 to 20 year-olds as possible by the year 2020. Through collaboration and partnership it is spreading the word about the benefits of youth social action, working to embed it in the journey of young people and creating fresh opportunities for the participation. Is also supported by Student Volunteering Week.

Jayne Cravens Blog

One of the field's first blogs run by Jayne Cravens, expert in online volunteering, that offers great information and insight on volunteerism as well as nonprofit, development, and women's issues.


Knowbility, Inc. is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the independence of children and adults with disabilities by promoting the use and improving the availability of accessible information technology. Many ideas for working with volunteers with disabilities.


An initiative of TechSoup Global, this site wants "to jumpstart the leading edge of online technological change -- and to help nonprofits use that edge to change the world!" Explains the new generation of online tools available that make it easier than ever before to collaborate, share information and mobilize support.


This UK consulting and research firm provides free -- and well-written -- reports on many aspects of trends in nonprofit management, online charity outreach, and volunteering. You must register your e-mail address to download PDFs.

Online Community Toolkit

Although not written for volunteer managers, provides a wide range of materials on fostering "online community." A nice tool for fostering volunteer community.

Any one person is connected to any other person through six or fewer relationships, because it's a small world. (founded by Kevin Bacon and Network for Good) is about using this idea to accomplish something good (social networking with a social conscience). Support favorite charities by donating or creating fundraising *badges* - as well as check out the favorite causes of other people, including celebrities.

The Social Animal

Practical social media and Web 2.0 advice for animal welfare advocates, but applicable to all and with many volunteer-related tips.

Social Citizens Blog - Glossary 2.0

Site utilizing the most innovative online technology for "social citizenship" offers this page defining blogs, wikis, and other tools (includes videos).


The "technology place for nonprofits" -- an overall great site. Browse the sections on "Community" and "Resources" for all sorts of information on using the Internet in your work with volunteers.


A variety of articles on how to conduct online surveys and gain more participation from respondents.

John Suart, the Canadian nonprofit humour writer and marketing consultant created this 4 minute video. "Announcing the official end of Words as a communications technique for non-profits. Forget writing a wall of words. Instead use video. It's effective, engaging and, now, accessible. See this video and see for yourself." Quite a case for producing videos for fundraising and recruiting volunteers.

Can Blogging Work for You
From Susan J. Ellis, President, Energize, Inc.

Blogging is one of those Internet options that has exploded in popularity and is still finding its limitations and potential. At its heart it's a simple concept: an online journal or diary, available to the public, with the capacity to offer text, audio and video and allow site visitors to reply (see the Wikipedia entry for "blog").

Like so much on the Web, blogs range wildly in value, from egotistical rants to arcane musings to truly useful commentaries or sources of information. They offer many different perspectives and personal experiences, and are increasingly used by the media as research sources. Volunteering is already a subject in the "blogosphere." Go to any of the blog search engines, such as Technorati, and do some exploring. The keyword "volunteering" found 12,433 results for me just now. Clearly someone is busy typing!

There are several ways you might use blogging to help in volunteer recruitment, recognition, general visibility, and professional exchange.

  • Ask whether any of your current volunteers already has a blog (you may be surprised!). Suggest that s/he include thoughts about her or his volunteer experiences in your organization in this existing blog. Since blog text can be hyperlinked, whenever a volunteer mentions your organization's name, it can allow the reader to click through to a page on your Web site that talks about volunteering. (Keep this in mind whenever volunteers receive special recognition or reach a milestone of service; remind them to include mention of this in their blogs.)
  • Start your own blog -- personally or by recruiting a volunteer to do so -- either on your organization's Web site or on an independent site. (There are many sites that allow you to start a blog for free, such as Google's Blogger.) Make the theme of the blog volunteering at your organization. Post announcements of public events, new volunteer position vacancies, volunteer training, winners of awards, etc.
  • Invite current volunteers, clients, and staff to be guest writers. Encourage them to share things such as:
    • Testimonials about volunteering and feelings of accomplishment
    • Interesting or funny volunteering experiences
    • Reflections on the meaning of their volunteering

    This therefore not only attracts the potential of prospective new volunteers, but it serves to recognize, appreciate and celebrate current volunteers.

  • Raise a "question of the month" and encourage everyone in your organization to respond.

You may worry about opening the door to unsolicited and unwanted postings. You have the choice of screening postings before they appear online or of letting everything go live but monitoring the site carefully and removing anything offensive. This is another good reason for assigning a volunteer as Blog Editor.

Picture of Liza J Dyer, CVA
Selfies for Social Good
Submitted by Liza J Dyer, CVA , Portland, Oregon, USA

How can you turn a selfie into something powerful? By turning it into a #helpie! If a selfie is a picture of oneself that you post on social media, then a helpie is a picture of oneself doing something helpful. And volunteers are all about being helpful!

Helpies can boost your efforts to recruit more volunteers, engage your current volunteers, and tell the story of your organization. Inspire volunteers to share helpies on social media platforms they’re already using with best practices and step-by-step instructions outlined in this video:

Now that’s a selfie for social good!