15 ideas for Virtual Volunteers from the Virtual Volunteering Guidebook

Do you have a hard time getting your volunteers to stay?

Are you just dissatisfied with the quality of the volunteers you have?

Did you know there are so many more people in the world who want to volunteer, who are feeling stymied by nonprofits not getting back to them when they try to volunteer with them?

It’s true. You’re probably not getting the right volunteer experience on either end because of a lack of good systems to recruit and cultivate your volunteers.

But what about fundraising? That’s why we’re here right?
Why should you care about volunteers and fundraising?

Well, to make a long story short, volunteers give 10x as much as non-volunteers. Seriously.

Volunteers are SO IMPORTANT for the future of your nonprofit. Cultivating them IS part of your fundraising job. This book will help you make the most of your volunteers, even if you don’t have a physical office.

If you answered yes, you are going to love Jayne Cravens and Susan Ellis Virtual Volunteering Guidebook!

Recently I organized a meetup for fundraisers here in Portland, Oregon, and I brought this book along. One of the people at the meetup started flipping through it and LOVED IT. He said, “Where did you get this?” I said, “Jayne Cravens, of Coyote Communications, one of the writers, gave me a review copy.” I’m grateful that she did, because this book is a game-changer for a small nonprofit to read. If you’d like to buy it right now, go to EnergizeInc.

Even if you don’t have a physical office, virtual volunteers can do so much for you!

But you’ve got to prepare yourself to make the most of your virtual volunteering efforts.

And that is what this book is primarily about.

There is so much that goes into nurturing and sustaining volunteers that you can’t see every day.

How do you get started?

Cravens and Ellis suggest that you ask your staff and current volunteers who is doing virtual volunteering? Just to get an idea of who is already on board with the idea of virtual volunteers, and who would potentially welcome it.

Then you can slowly start to introduce virtual volunteering ideas around the office.

They recommend that you do not ask staff to do anything you’re not doing yourself.

I have run across this when working with volunteer committees. You give them a google doc and they just don’t really understand how to use it. So unless they are willing to learn, you need to work within the tech framework they are comfortable with. If email is their thing, then email is what you’ll use.

So how can you think about micro-volunteering tasks?

They need to be quick to complete, perhaps taking just a few minutes or hours over one day, a few days, or two weeks.

Do not involve high security data.

Are important, not immediately critical (like, if it doesn’t get done in the next two weeks, it won’t bring your organization to a halt)

Can be done by just one person, rather than a team.

So what are some example tasks a virtual volunteer can perform for your nonprofit?

1. Compiling a list of blogs relating to a specific topic
2. Identifying groups on flickr your nonprofit might want to post photos to, to get more attention
3. Setting up an account on a social media platform, like Facebook, GooglePlus, Twitter, GreatNonprofits,
4. Analyzing information ona spreadsheet and offering a brief description on what the data means.
5. Editing a podcast,
6. Testing a website to make sure it works on a variety of computers and web browsers
7. Editing a press release, newsletter article or new website section
8. Compiling a list of online communities relating to a particular field of expertise, a specific topic, geographic area, etc
9. Finding free online training materials for whatever software tool your office is learning to use
10. Answering questions for a day about something n an online form
11. Going through photographs and writing brief descriptions and keywords to help you catalogue your nonprofit’s history
12. Translating a web page, a flyer or a postcard into another language
13. Designing an online graphic
14. Checking grant proposal submission guidelines
15. Researching which websites link to your organization’s site and researching which sites should link to you but do not currently.

So, should you buy this book?

I think we both know the answer is yes. Get your copy at


Posted in