ellohay! West Michigan

What motivating factors would make a tech support person want to volunteer his services in his free time?

Posted in strategy, tech support, volunteers by forgr on September 1, 2008

A month ago, I asked, “What motivating factors would make a tech support person want to volunteer his services in his free time?”

Highlights from the community’s answers,

Renato Simoes Batista, System Analyst at Accenture writes:

Many reasons are possible, for example:
– Opportunity to learn or to be in contact with new technologies;
– Build a network connection;
– Feeling of social responsibility about helping others;
– Recognition of his work (in some level. e.g.: Publication of his name in the organization website, as a volunteer)

In the bottom line, the person needs to feel that it would be good for him to volunteer.
For example, the PMI’s Chapters have a lot of volunteers that just want to develop project management skills.

Hope this helps.


Thierry Charles, Finance Manager (NGOs)

Hi Marie Claire,

I have been having several experiences with tech volunteering in my NGOs, an auditor, water engineers, a cost killer consultant, a coach, bankers, a dbase programmer etc…
None of them wanted to do this for living

Basically their heart was the first motivating factor (as student they used to volunteer, or members of their family or friends do it)

They chose to help but did not want to do the usual business (answering the phone, meeting with people).

They chose to help with their skills
because it was simple efficient and with the best leverage (of their time)

Though, all missions were not a success.

Good points to have a successful experience are

– A mission with a clear begin and a clear end
– A light time table with a negociated dead end (lack of pressure)
– Large autonomy (they should be able to work home)
– Higher rate of success if they work on new projects
– One and only one correspondant within the NGO (with a backup)

Care about the reward
A presentation in front of the board or honor membership were surprisingly highly rewarding.
But this should only be speaken of at the end of the mission.

They in general are pride to work for you, but they tend to be modest.
They are recognized as a specialist within your organization, which gives them confidence (it is not always the case in their normal life)
They like to choose, do not hesitate to present various missions.
The first two meetings are important, If you do not feel the guy, stop.

In France a good experience is passerelles et competences (enclosed)

They offer mission from ngos and professionnals (in activity) propose their service
The split of their mission is the following
31% marketing
28% HR
19% finance law
14% IT
19% strategy organization

hope this helps


  • http://www.passerellesetcompetences.org
  • Naming, structure, goals, objectives and strategy

    Posted in organization, planning, strategy, writing by forgr on May 18, 2008

    I’ll be taking a break from posting about meetings and new concepts here for a bit to focus independently on naming, structure, goals, objectives and strategy.

    If I get a chance to post here, I will (I greatly value your comments and strong opinions).

    On another note, our Fundable drive is at 37%, if you’ve been meaning to contribute, but haven’t had a chance yet, the last day to meet our goal of $240 is exactly 7 days 1 hours 43 min. 40 sec. away. What can just $10 do for this project? Read here.

    Thank you, everyone, for your support, and I’ll talk to you soon when I emerge from writing.

    Marie-Claire Camp

    Digital Inclusion in Grand Rapids, MI Project
    (616) 446-3622

    A Conversation with Bill Hill, veteran librarian, Grand Rapids Public Library

    Posted in conversations, feedback, planning, players by forgr on March 31, 2008

    On Friday, March 21st, I caught a quick lunch with Bill Hill from the Grand Rapids Public Library. I had contacted him about a week or so ago prior inquiring about the Public Library’s computer usage. I asked really specific questions in an email:

    • Who are your internet station patrons? And if you were to speculate, why are they there?
    • What are your hopes for the community and each citizen’s involvement with the technology?
    • What are the library’s largest technological pain points?
    • How many people log on to internet stations per day?
    • What are your peak usage times during the week, the weekend?
    • What is your itrain class attendance like for each session?
    • If there was one thing that would boost your class attendance, (if that’s what you want) what would it be?
    • What’s missing in the community, what’s the largest need?

    So, when I finally met with Bill, he expressed that answers to most of these questions are not available. They keep the program moving, and continue to upgrade their machines because their mission is to provide the means for the community to learn about themselves and their world. The internet, like books, magazines, and movies is another tool to aid in this goal. They dont track usage, they don’t have any real analytics programs keeping track of things.

    They only count the number of sessions and unique page visits.

    Bill also told he about himself, his involvement with the library and various programs he’s involved with there, this one, this one, this one among others. I initially wanted to talk with him because he’s lived in this city for quite some time, he’s worked at the library for years, and he’s actively engaged in the community at many levels.

    I told him about our project, about the parts, pieces, people and plans. He listened, soaked it all in, asked a few questions.

    He then gave some of the first negative feedback our project has received. He described many efforts that the community had tried to start up, and subsequently failed at, namely open computer labs. He expressed that it was likely than individuals would steal machines, sell them and then come back for more. He warned that I might be too optimistic, and to keep a realistic head on my shoulders throughout the project.

    But it didn’t get me down. I knew going in that it was going to be rough. I know that there are going to be problems. All the more reason to try it, give it a genuine run, and see what happens. We’ll never know until we try.

    As we wrapped up our lunch, I had asked him if he would be willing to stay in the conversation, and he said sure, but might better be able to help me by assisting with initial grant writing exercises.

    A little bit ago, Bill emailed me following up afterwards,

    >     I enjoyed meeting you very much, but I fear I left you with more of a
    >     negative reaction than I felt or intended. Your mission to help less
    >     advantaged folks gain more independence is sacred stuff.  I admire
    >     your passion for this work, and hope I will be able to contribute something
    >     from the library.

    And then in another email said this,

    >     We share much the same goal, to empower people by giving them free
    >     access to information, and we do offer classes on using the internet and
    >     word processing, although our next round of those wont arrive till
    >     Fall.  You take it a step further than we ever will be able to, by
    >     wanting to provide your clients with their own laptops. But our goals
    >     have much in common overall.

    Very nice conversation and correspondence, and just the right touch of reality to keep me fighting for this project.

    Thank you Bill for the conversation, and I hope to talk with you soon about grants, and the future.

    From GR Wireless City Page

    Posted in bookmarks by forgr on February 4, 2008

    This is copy and pasted from http://www.ci.grand-rapids.mi.us/wireless

    “Wireless – Goals and Benefits

    The City does not plan to compete with private business to sell wireless broadband. The purpose of developing a community wireless broadband network is to leverage the government’s infrastructure to partner with private providers, community institutions, businesses, and community organizations to:

    * Enhance public safety by dramatically increasing the information available to mobile police and firefighters
    * Provide an economic development tool to attract and retain business
    * Reduce the digital divide with affordable high-speed broadband service
    * Improve service delivery to residents and reduce the cost of government
    * Facilitate wireless technology use for citizens and visitors
    * Create a seamless wireless infrastructure to attract and retain young professionals
    *Establish a wireless broadband network without a burden on taxpayers