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Working with Technical Volunteers: A Manual for NPOs

Learn how to recruit and manage volunteers

Working with Technical Volunteers 
TechSoup - April 20, 2009
Many nonprofits, libraries, and schools don't have the resources to use technology in all the ways they would like. Technical volunteers can help fill the gap, but it's easy to run into problems when working with volunteers. TechSoup's manual teaches you how to effectively recruit, match, and manage technical volunteers.

Editor's Note: This manual was originally drafted in February 2002 but was recently updated by TechSoup.org staff to include more current advice, worksheets, and technical specifications. This document is intended to be a starting point and guide for nonprofits who aim to recruit technical volunteers. We invite you to take it and use what you like, add to it, and make it your own. If there are resources you'd like to see added to the manual on our site, please contact us at lendahand@techsoup.org.

Many nonprofits, libraries, and schools don't have the time, money, or funding to use technology in all the ways they would like. Technical volunteers can fill the gap by tackling the projects that in-house staff cannot handle, and that do not require paid consultants.

Yet even groups that have successfully involved volunteers in their other work have run into problems when asking volunteers to work on technology issues. Recruiting and managing technical volunteers can be intimidating, especially when staff members do not fully understand the work that techies do. Additionally, organizations must balance the benefits of technical volunteers' help with the need to establish sustainable, consistent computer support.

TechSoup has developed an effective methodology for recruiting, matching, and managing technical volunteers. You can use the downloadable guide below to assess your technical needs and identify areas where volunteers can help; recruit technical volunteers and assess their skills; manage technical volunteers; document their work; and find resources that will help your volunteers throughout the process.

We hope this information will help your organization create successful volunteer relationships to improve your technology and better achieve your mission.

Image: Tech support, Shutterstock