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Learn tips and hints to use a variety of electronic and technical equipment to enhance work with volunteers.

~ October 2009 ~



Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette and protocol expert with online help and books.  In a recent newsletter to her subscribers she outlined some tips for using social media.  Your volunteers are using it and if your program is not, you should be.  51% of all Americans have joined a social network (FaceBook, MySpace).  Another 73% are consuming some form of social content on a regular basis.  The tips here have been adapted from Ramsey’s list to apply to the manager of volunteers getting the most from social media postings.

#1. Fill out the online profiles completely with information about the volunteer program. Use real contact names and photos. The organization’s cat mascot may be adorable, but unless you are a humane shelter, don’t get cute.

#2. Never mix business and personal sites, even if you are an all-volunteer group.

#3. Create a section on your main profile detailing who the program
seeks to befriend and ask visitors to abide by that information.   Everyone need not apply.

#4. Offer information of value. Show pictures of volunteers doing real work.  Never gloss over the realities of the jobs available to volunteers.

#5. Set the site up to highlight the program and its volunteers.  If you create a site to only “sell” those volunteer opportunities, you can lose credibility and your so-called “friends.”

#6. Pick a screen name that represents your volunteer program and organization well.  Again, avoid “cutsey.”

#7. Use the site in a professional way and avoid things that the readers would find timewasters.

#8. Never put anything on the Internet that you do not want future or current volunteers, client or funders to read.

#9. When using such social media as Twitter, check out the people who want to follow you and the volunteer program. Your mother was right when she said that people will judge you and the program by the company you keep.

#10. Never force volunteers to join a social media network.  If someone does not want to join, accept his or her decision gracefully. They have the right to make that choice and you have to accept it.  Many volunteers have had enough “computer” at work and the last thing they want is “computer” in their leisure time.  Find a way to communicate that is acceptable to them.

#11. Never post when you're overly tired, jet lagged, angry or upset.

#12. Compose your posts, updates or tweets in a word processing
document so you can check grammar and spelling before you send them.

The world of online networking is new to most of us, but there is little difference in connecting with people online and offline. The same basic tenets hold true. Trust and authenticity remain high on the
list. To read more from Lindsey visit her Web site http://www.mannersthatsell.com/

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TwitCause is a new service of the Experience Project, that highlights a different charity every week in an effort to raise money and visibility for the organizations.  To check out your eligibility to be a TwitCause visit the Web site.  For more information http://www.twitcause.com

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