Online Volunteer Care – A Field Report

Online volunteer support: A field report by a volunteer coordinator

The topic of online volunteer support is becoming increasingly popular among associations. For this reason we have arranged to meet Lisa Schumacher from Taste of Malawi . In this blog you will find Lisa’s most important tipps and conten for successful volunteer coordination. You can watch the recorded interview here. Have fun!

Online volunteering is growing in popularity. Lisa Schumacher leads a volunteer coordination team at the Taste of Malawi association. She is also a volunteer and has always been able to combine her role well with her studies. In addition to recruiting and supervising volunteers in the digital team, her tasks also include the selection and preparation of on-site volunteers who will complete a voluntary social year in Malawi.

Networked worldwide

The organization’s volunteers come from all over the world – America, Asia, Europe or Africa. Lisa supports these volunteers as part of their work. The biggest challenge is of course a face-to-face meeting. The sense of community must be strenghtend online and she advises that you always look at the team as a whole. Especially in online engagement you can feel lonely and for this reason it is important to emphasize the team spirit again and again.

Lisa made a conscious decision to get involved online. Because her studies require her to regularly stay abroad. She is not tied down to one place and that simply fits best into their lifestyle. She shares this view with those involved in Taste of Malawi. The volunteers enjoy the flexibility and long-term commitment to the same organization. Whether from the beach or on the train, day or night – the commitment is always in your pocket.

Tasks in digital volunteering

When it comes to choosing tasks, Lisa sees no limits for those who are online. Tasks that require you to carry a lot of responsibility such as being on the board, as well as smaller tasks are carried out purely digital. In fact, the entire organization with all of its tasks is completely online. A dreamlike, boundless commitment – that sounds almost too good to be true?!

However, there is a limitation in online volunteer support. In order to build a personal connection, some non-verbal communication is missing. According to Lisa, it takes longer to build trust and create a personal connection. What helps best is a well-structured onboarding and proactive behavior on the part of the volunteer coordinators. The good news is that if you are aware of the challenge and actively address it, you can build meaningful and trustworthy relationships.

As the collaboration progresses, you have to constantly work on the relationship. It is important to create a space for social interaction with analog Volunteers. To-do lists and future tasks are not only to be discussed and planned, but space for fun and teambuilding should be a piority.

The future of online volunteering

The future of online engagement is full of possibilities. Many volunteers are waiting for the chance to volunteer online and more organizations should open their doors to online volunteering. The potential is huge and very far from being exhausted!

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