Yes, even if it might sound as something quite new, there’s a classical approach to online volunteering.
Nevertheless I call it the classical approach because it usually deals with the virtualisation of onsite/offline/”real” volunteers. What I mean is that it is not an endogenous way of thinking about the internet possibilities, but designing volunteering posts as always and, then, after that, try and see if volunteers can stay home and do the things we planned.
I’m not saying this is not the way, but that this should have been the correct way until the whole thing became mature. Now that we’ve got some experience in the field, I think we should turn into – as I said before – some endogenous way of online volunteering design.
And this keeping in mind what the Internet is all about:
- Knowledge Management: I guess there’s no doubt that ICTs’ main added value is dealing with knowledge (we could talk whether it is knowledge, information or just data), so when talking about e-volunteers (or teleworkers) a good approach should be the identification of our most knowledge intensive tasks and the identification of our major knowledge holders. Matching should then be just fun.
- Networking: Talking to Janet Salmons past Friday I told her that we usually did not had individual online volunteers but teams. It seems to me that in a network architecture such as Internet’s, networking becomes almost a must. If we add the Knowledge Management approach, connecting people that know with knowledge intensive tasks/projects, then the networks is the way.
So far, end of my morning sermon ;)
If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:
Peña-López, I. (2005) “Further steps beyond classical online volunteering” In ICTlogy,
#17, February 2005. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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