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.

Cheers.

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

Links:

  • http://www.passerellesetcompetences.org
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    What we need to make this work

    Posted in discovery stages, planning by forgr on March 13, 2008

    85233661_71a7626f42.jpg

    Photo from flickr-user katielips, for use under creative commons license
    In no particular order:

    • We need to offer free laptops to our clients

    • We need to offer support for our clients

    • We need to offer many types of education

    • We need to offer one-on-one mentoring

    • We need to make sure our clients understand the power of their new tool, can help themselves, become independent of the program, and make a contribution back to the community in some way

    • We need to provide several methods for our clients to contact us for support

    • We need to have at least one physical presence in the city that is easily accessible

    • We need to collaborate with our community and our internal team frequently

    • We need to have dedicated staff for day-to-day tasks

    • We need to have multi-lingual staff members

    • We need to have active technology gleaners

    • We need to be organized in everything we do

    • We need to become an anchor in our community

    • We need to be smart and fresh, honest and level

    • We need an active and dedicated board of advisors

    • We need people with patience, passion and empathy to help us bring this workshop into fruition

    • We need to have volunteers to help organize the equipment, properly orient new clients, maintain relationships with community, offer technical support, teach classes, be mentors, evangelize, write for the blog, collect feedback, clean the workshop, be in charge of client data, write articles for monthly eNewsletters, explain the workshop and earn-a-laptop program to new-comers.

    • We need to stay local and stimulate people in our community to stay active

    • We need to have client events

    • We need to have a solid board of directors

    • We need to have a fearless leader

    • We need to make sure our tools are accessible to individuals with special needs

    • We need to have community partners

    • We need to always stay positive and engaged

    • We need to know our mission and work towards it in everything we do

    • We need to solicit feedback from our community on a regular basis

    • We need to be as open, honest and as transparent as possible

    • We need to take care of our team members

    • We need to learn from our clients

    • We need to reach out to our neighbors, and engage them in the project

    A Conversation with Laurie from the Community Media Center

    On Thursday, I had a brief but interesting lunch conversation with Laurie from the Community Media Center here in Grand Rapids.

    We first discussed some of the CMC programs in place for area nonprofits and residents, http://www.grcmc.org/nposervices and then talked about a new program coming out once the city gets its WiMax working. It’s in charge of eventually processing and granting up to 5% of the area’s residents discounted rates on WiMax. They have also taken the task of traveling to local schools and talking about the available WiMax discount to schools.

    So there will be education about our new wireless access, and discounted rates from an organization in the city. I’m not meaning for that to sound small, I mean for it to sound like a step in the right direction.

    I explained to Laurie about our project idea. I talked about the pilot program, the gaps in the system, and some other stuff we’re working on. She seemed genuinely excited. She all but volunteered a venue for the pilot program when I explained some of our current stumbling blocks.

    I’m pretty sure she also suggested that we piggyback the CMC for the pilot so that people and companies can get tax deductions on their donations, (but I might have dreamed that part…).

    Laurie agreed with several statements that I made about the large number of residents and individuals that go unacknowledged in our community. We talked about the populations of under-served, and some potential programs that aid organizations might be struggling to launch, maintain or keep afloat.

    I told my two most relevant stories, Red Cross Indian Village shelter story, and next door neighbor laptop story. The Red Cross story is the one that still makes me sad to think about. I’ll tell it soon here. When I’m ready.

    Laurie’s questions about the pilot and the program were great, she asked things like “So how do you avoid people from doing bad things with their computers?” and “What happens if one is lost, broken or stolen?”. I liked that she answered that in the many years that her team has been loaning out equipment, that they have had only one problem with theft. People are respectful if they know that you are a good place, and that you can trust each other.

    I feel like there’s some real similarities in thoughts, missions and intent between this infant project and the CMC. It makes sense to make them part of the project family.

    So that meeting went well. She gave me all of her contact info, and then headed back to her office to prepare to leave on vacation to Italy for a few weeks. She said that I could call her anytime to talk.
    When I got back home, I starting drawing a revised diagram, and listing groupings of our under-served neighbors. That one’s coming soon too.

    Thanks for the meeting Laurie, hope to talk with you again soon.