Retaining Online Volunteers: What You Need to Know

To assist with online volunteer retention the not-for-profit organization has a responsibility to develop and implement a professionally accepted online volunteer screening and assessment process.

Winnipeg, Canada, June 16, 2007 --( A June 1, 2007 blog post entitled "How to Choose the Right Online Volunteering Assignment" states "A key to success in Online Volunteering is in choosing the assignments that are appropriate to your skills, interests and availability."

Yes, a potential online volunteer should consider their skills, interests and availability when choosing an online volunteer opportunity. However, to assist with success (from the perspective of both the potential volunteer and organization), the not-for-profit organization has a responsibility to develop and implement a professionally accepted screening and assessment process. Developing such a process will assist the not-for-profit in assigning the online volunteer to a position that best matches their interests, skills, knowledge experience and level of commitment (this may be an online volunteer position that is available or one that is specifically articulated to match the potential volunteer's profile based on the aforementioned screening and assessment process).

One of the best measures of success from the frame of reference of both the online volunteer and not-for-profit, is how long the online volunteer stays engaged with the same organization. A satisfied online volunteer will more likely commit to the same not-for-profit organization for a longer time period. And appropriate placement, preceded by a sound assessment process, will assist in facilitating volunteer satisfaction (and thus, retention). Considering the direct and indirect costs of online recruitment, all non-for-profit organizations should be developing policies, procedures and processes that facilitate volunteer retention.

Macdonald Youth Services (MYS) has been pioneering and successfully utilizing highly-skilled online volunteers from around the globe since 1998 to help fulfill their organizational mission. Using a well-developed assessment and placement process, MYS has been able to retain online volunteers for as long as seven years. These satisfied virtual volunteers have contributed hundreds of hours enhancing MYS's programs and services. And notable, this level of commitment is occurring at a time when North American research has revealed that volunteers are tending to embrace episodic volunteering versus longer term commitments.

To learn further information about Macdonald Youth Services' Online Volunteering Program, please visit:

MYS's "About Online Volunteering: Information Non-Profit Organizations Can Use" is an online resource (which also has an accompanying podcast listed in iTunes under the same name), where MYS shares their successes and best practices with the aim of helping other not-for-profit organizations. The RSS Feeds for this About Online Volunteering resource and podcast can be found at:

For further information:

Randy Tyler
Macdonald Youth Services
Winnipeg, Canada
Skype: randytyler_canada
T: 1-204-949-4292

Macdonald Youth Services
Randy Tyler
Skype: randytyler_canada