Friday, June 01, 2007

How to Choose the Right Online Volunteering Assignment

Many people have asked me about choosing an online volunteer project. Here are some notes from the UN's Online Volunteering web site that may help you choose a project if you are looking for one. These guidelines are specific to the U.N.'s program, but they hold true for online volunteering in general. There is more at the U.N.'s site than I have prented here, and to find out more, use the link found at the end of this article.

A key to success in Online Volunteering is in choosing the assignments that are appropriate to your skills, interests and availability.

Use your answers to these questions to guide you in choosing organizations and assignments:

Why do you want to volunteer, in general?
What do you hope to gain and give by volunteering?
What kind of organization(s) or programs do you want to help?

What sort of services and assistance would you like to provide -- building a web site for an organization, doing online research, mentoring a young person via the Internet, visiting virtually with someone who is home bound?
Do you want to volunteer for something that uses the skills you apply in your paid work or at school, or do you want to do something completely different?
What types of things are you good at (and like to do)?
These can be professional skills or even hobbies and recreational talents. Almost every type of skill is needed somewhere.
What DON'T you want to do as a volunteer?
What organizations have you volunteered with before, on or offline? What did you like and dislike about those experiences?
What is your availability for assignments? (do you want to work during a set time of day? for a certain amount of days, weeks, or months?
On our service, you can search for Online Volunteering activities in two ways -- by the kinds of Online Volunteering Assignments available and by the kind of work the organization engages in. Whichever way you choose, keep your answers to the above questions in mind when looking for an assignment.

You may need to do many different kinds of searches, narrowing or expanding your search many times so that you can find a range of opportunities to apply for. There are thousands of organizations on our Online Volunteering service, representing many, many different geographic areas and types of assignments. New organizations and opportunities are added daily.

When you choose an organization and an assignment that interests you, you will go through a registration process to capture information about your skills, interests and availability. Your information is then sent directly to the organization that posted the volunteering opportunity. UNV does not review applications by volunteers. Also, please note that submission of your information does not guarantee you will be considered or placed as an online volunteer.

If the organization would like you to take on the assignment, a staff person from that agency will contact you. However, please note that online volunteering is very, very new to most NGOs, and many are still getting used to working with online volunteers. In your member page within our service, the assignments you applied for are automatically listed

U.N. Online Volunteering

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