Enhancing your nonprofit’s capacity via online volunteers

I had an email from one of the team developing beyondorders.com – a site expected to launch in November.

Their goal is to scale up reconstruction efforts in Iraq, by linking potential donors (the people who want to send goods needed by local people in Iraq but who don’t know what the specific needs are), to soldiers who know what some specific local needs are (eg. water filters), but lack the people to connect with in order to relay those community needs.

They have some specific needs for geek volunteers, and were asking for suggestions. I thought they could try posting on ictlogy.net, seeing if students in need of thesis subjects in this UK ICT4D program might be interested, and asking the initial Geek Corps founder Ethan Zuckerman for some ideas.

I also thought, in addition to their goal of seeking a geek volunteer to accompany them in Iraq, that it could be worth their while to increase their capacity by involving online volunteers.

They wanted some ideas for where to begin on this, and I sent along a few suggestions.

I realized that this info could be useful to others also, so I’m including it here.

I think a lot of nonprofits aren’t aware of this resource available to them – online volunteers, from anywhere in the world, willing to help with specific tasks.

Whether you’re a small community-based organization in a country with dial-up access and frequent power outages in need of high-speed research to help you with grant applications, a nonprofit looking to translate your resources into multiple languages, or perhaps a grassroots group in need of a website or application, online volunteers could be a way for you to scale up your efforts and increase your organization’s capacity.

Here are some places to get started:






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