Monday, June 25, 2007

Virtual Volunteering

The Universal Declaration on Volunteering states:

Volunteering is a fundamental building block of civil society

Through volunteering you can contribute to the betterment of your local community. Technology now makes it possible to volunteer in a global community. Virtual volunteering, also known as online volunteering, opens up the traditional options of volunteering work. Through virtual volunteering you can contribute to development produces happening in Africa, India or South America without leaving your home.

For homepage, producer Michelle O'Connor investigates the field of online volunteering.

In 2000 United Nations Volunteers started an online volunteers service to see if they could link volunteering projects in developing countries with online volunteers from anywhere in the world. The project worked very well and continues to grow today. Michelle speaks with Elise Bouvet, Program Specialist for the online volunteering service of UNV in Germany who says there are benefits for both the organisation and the individuals in online volunteering projects.

Michelle also speaks with Rebecka Delforce an online volunteer living in Sydney. Rebecka volunteers to write for the e-magazine of the Volunteer Centre of NSW. She's also the founder of a not-for-profit organisation which builds eco-friendly children's villages in developing countries. Michelle discovers that for Rebecka the decision to be an online volunteer is based on time management.

While virtual volunteering is a successful program for the United Nations Volunteering service, Michelle discovers in Australia online volunteering is still very new. Julie Pollard the CEO of Volunteering Australia reports there is some interest in online volunteering and good growth potentioal. Their figures show that young people are the most likely candidates for online volunteering.

One of the major reasons most volunteers nominate for engaging in voluntary work is the social aspect....getting to meet likeminded people. In a virtual Volunteering world where your volunteer work is solitary, how eill volunteer managers meet the challenge of keeping volunteers connected? Julie Pollard suggest online volunteering programs will need to incorporate methods to help volunteers keep in touch with each other.

So how will we volunteer in the future? Wrapping up the report for homeapage this week Julie Pollard predicts that online volunttering will become a popular volunteering choice but won't replace traditional face to face volunteering work.

homepage is produced in the studios of 2MCE Bathurst and broadcast nationally via the Community Radio Network. The program is made with financial assistance from the Community Broadcasting Foundation. You can listen to homepage on 2mce via our streaming at

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