ellohay! West Michigan

ellohay! West Michigan officially has volunteers

Posted in support, tech support, to-do list, volunteers by forgr on January 25, 2009

I’d like to welcome Tom and Natasha to the ellohay! West Michigan team. They have both been giving oodles of time towards our growing to-do lists, helping with organization and providing a multitude of ideas and improvements.

It’s really great to see this project grow, to see people believe in it right along with me, and to know that it can and will advance, get better, get stronger.

This has the potential to be an extraordinary thing, thank you for working to make it happen.

If you have a little time and want to volunteer too, here are three ways to take the next step. Email me, Marie-Claire Camp, call me (616) 446-3622 and we can talk about what you might be interested in doing, or write a note to ellohay! West Michigan P.O. Box 1994 Grand Rapids, MI 49501.

Thanks for being awesome guys.

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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
  • Client personas and potential use cases, part two

    Photo from flickr-user mstor, for use under creative commons license

    Remember Kim? 35, single mother of two, works five days a week as a physical therapist’s assistant from 8 am until 2, English is her second language.

    So the question was, ‘What will she do when she gets her new laptop home?’

    Kim gets her laptop home and plugs in the power cord (the battery is running low). She feeds the kids dinner, puts in their favorite movie, and sits down on the couch. She picks up her computer, opens the top, and sets in on her lap. She’s never had her own laptop before so she gets a nervous flutter in her stomach when the screen lights up.

    The first thing she notices is an alert that there is an open wireless network available, she clicks “OK” and sees that the signal is strong. She then clicks on the internet browser icon in the dock at the bottom of the screen.

    When the screen loads, she sees the program page that reads “Welcome to the neighborhood Kim. The Digital Inclusion in Grand Rapids, MI project is happy to see you here again.” She smiles and clicks on the email icon on the page. She’s curious if she has any new mail from her class instructor. She has two new messages, one from her instructor, and another from the program director. She reads both and replies to the one from her instructor, she thanks him for answering her questions in the orientation class earlier that day.

    When she goes back to her home page, and project welcome page, she sees that there is an event calendar on the page. It has the class schedules, community events, and hours of the workshop on it. She takes a look at what’s happening next weekend.

    Her kids need to get to bed, so she closes her laptop and heads up to get them ready. After they fall asleep, she heads back downstairs to wash the dishes, puts in a load of laundry and turns the tv on. The entire time she’s going thinking about her new laptop, glancing at it when she walks back and forth bringing bowls and glasses from the living room into the kitchen. It’s still slightly foreign to her.

    She sits back down again to rest and watch the weather report on tv for tomorrow, she opens up the computer again and looks at the event calendar a little more. She’s more nervous that she thought she would ever be about a piece of technology. She closes the lid and sits back on the couch. Before she goes to bed, she puts the computer on the kitchen table with the folder from the workshop next to it, she’ll read and explore more tomorrow when the kids are at the neighbor’s house.

    It’s Sunday afternoon the next time she’s able to get back to her computer again. The signal is strong, the program’s page is welcoming, she has no new emails. She clicks on the icon that reads “Community Resources” as she’s curious about what’s there. There are sections of links divided into different categories, and she looks at all of them. She clicks on local weather and news. The website loads and shows her that it will be raining tomorrow afternoon, she smiles knowing that that sort of information is available whenever she wants it, not just at 10:00 or 11:00 at night when the local station reports it.

    She reads more resource links and ends up sitting on the computer for almost three hours. She stretches and rubs her eyes, realizing that she’s spent that much time looking at the screen. She feels more comfortable with her computer though now, and is glad that she’s in the program.

    Monday work then a school play, Tuesday work and then her youngest with a high fever. Wednesday she finally gets back to her exploration. She finds YouTube, and Flickr. She sees a website advertised on tv, and for fun, goes there to see what it offers. She experiemetnsregisters for a digital scrapbook class at the workshop. She’s feeling even more confident now.

    Pilot program initial planning (stages, players, events)

    So among other things, there’s quite a bit to think about for a pilot program… And yes, we’re planning on a pilot program. Talking with John Helmholdt from the public school district was inspiring. And even if that connection ends up not panning out, there a many other groups that I’m sure would be receptive to the idea. With that in mind, I write this,

    Some initial thoughts on serving a small group of individuals for pilot program,

    1. Prep 2. Give 3. Support

    Within these stages are potentially 8 or 9 groups that we would need to bring together for this program.
    • Geeks (for computer gleaning, clean up, open source os installation etc. at the geek-a-thon)
    • Audience/clients (who will receive the laptops, get support, orientation, education)
    • Forgr staff (will organize, manage and execute the program pieces and parts, provide orientation to all)
    • Educators or existing community education organizations (teachers, professors, instructors that will teach introductory level skills to audience in a group setting and/or one-on-one)
    • Tech support staff (will be available for audience to trouble shoot any extreme cases)
    • Audience administration (school board, program executive directors etc. that will need to determine goals and parameters, and then accept responsibility’s for supporting program within their institution)
    • Facilities (venue for geek-a-thon event, temporary education and support workshop locations)
    • Piggy-back organization (existing nonprofit organization that will host our initiative, allow donors to give their laptops and equipment with a tax deductible status)
    • Potentially parents and teachers of audience/clients if it’s a classroom environment (these would be extended support system and will need to understand the program’s ins and outs as much as possible)

    So, with that in mind, here’s a shot at planning for the first stage of the pilot program:

    1. Prep

    1a.) Establish a planning committee, meet and come up with plan of action for organizing three part program pieces and parts, who what when where why how. Discuss goals, determine how event might be sponsored, how to recruit volunteers etc. Set our success model for the program.

    1b.) Secure a venue for geek-a-thon portion, secure a piggy-back organization, determine rough time-line, secure deductible donation status for donors/geeks, discuss process for client group, secure sponsor.

    1c.) Prepare to meet with client group leader, write up targeted business plan and executive statement for client group and/or piggy-back organization.

    1d.) Meet with client group leader or board, determine hopes, goals for their group, their anticipated trouble spots, stumbling blocks, determine best course of action to proceed, set rough time line for events.

    1e.) Submit any agreement documents with group (if necessary), start building community of educators or participating education facilities for education and support base for client group, discuss plan of action for geek-a-thon event.

    1f.) Create program around geek-a-thon. Explore ways spread the word about the geek-a-thon, explore call to action for geeks to glean computers, event details, computer tagging strategy. Collect list of participating educators or community education partners. Finalize time line for all events and launch.

    1g.) Check in on sponsor, venue, status, dates, client agreement, piggyback organization, donor. Firm up time line and event schedule for geek-a-thon with all pieces and parts, collect email addresses for all educators, geeks, and volunteers. Draft literature for all groups, client instructions, support materials, feedback forms etc.

    1h.) Arrange for entertainment, food, music, tables etc. for geek-a-thon. Design email invitations, posters, signs for geek-a-thon. Make sure everything is covered, on track with all groups. Find facilitator volunteers for geek-a-thon.

    1i) Send out invitations to geek-a-thon, write press release for event and contact media for event coverage. Finalize all materials for literature for all audiences.

    1j) Collect RSVPs from geeks, collect feedback on idea from geeks. Meet with audience administration (weekly?) and hold pre-orientation/round table with administration, (potentially teachers, parents) on upcoming event and program ins and outs.

    1k.) Venue prep for geek-a-thon event day or two ahead. Set up, event dry run with committee, hold volunteer orientation, have FAQ sheet available for volunteers. Tie up loose ends before event. Send out press releases, check back in with press to make sure they are attending (if we want them).

    1l.) Hold Geek-a-thon event. Hand out kits to geeks. Get volunteers in place. Answer questions, address immediate needs. Announcements. Register laptops and run through clean up, diagnostics, set up checklists. Determine what parts are missing, needs to bring all machines up to standards. During event solicit feedback, have temporary workshop volunteer sign up sheet/email list and sign up for continuing involvement in program. Enjoy ourselves and do something good together. Collect finished machines. Thank everyone for coming and explain next steps. Collect possible donations.

    1m.) Send out thank yous and confirmation to geeks and volunteers from geek-a-thon event. Prep temporary workshop space, get wireless networks set up. Tools, parts, and/or the means to gain. Set up volunteer schedule, hotline for clients, tracking system for incoming machines maintenance. Confirm introductory level education schedule. Tie up any loose ends with groups.

    2. Give

    2150306305_4ec432b4c8.jpg

    Photo from flickr-user elemenous for use under creative common license
    2a.) If necessary, hold orientation for potential teachers, parents, administrators. Explain their roles, and provide support for them as extended support team. Collect phone numbers, names addresses of their children/our clients.

    2b.) Hold client orientation. Introduce program origins, cover who what when why wheres, address, explain all questions. Tell them how it will work. Have all parties sign ‘promise’ agreement and ‘care and keeping of your new computer’ sheet.

    2c.) Bring clients their laptops, literature, FAQs, how tos, what ifs, explain hotline. Hold first education session, set up email accounts, provide educational outlets outside program too. Explain feedback plan. Fill sign up sheet for future classes, sessions. Collect email addresses from all clients. Collect donations?

    2d.) Let them take them home, and make sure they stay connected to the program by providing feedback.

    3. Support

    536550986_d6704b735a.jpg

    Photo from flickr-user mugley for use under creative common license

    3a.) Collect feedback, hold classes, collect donations, fix broken machines, address problems. Change, adapt, support, grow, learn.

    3b.) Host lessons-learned session for geek-a-thon, hardware status, determine if program is on track

    3c.) Collect and synthesize incoming feedback. Solicit feedback from parents, teachers. Update program if necessary.

    3d.) Hold lessons-learned for orientations, education sessions, workshops, volunteers, facility, hotline, etc.

    3e.) Scout for permanent workshop location if necessary, build client database, build website, find more volunteers, find donors, send out regular newsletters. Build, grow, learn, adapt, assist, have energy.

    3f.) Reach pilot program success, continue to support clients through their growth and ours.

    Phew, so what do we think here, too optimistic, would something like this work? We really want to know, what’s missing?Why do we need your help? Because I’m sitting on my couch, at home, in my pajamas with my headphones in and it’s impossible to coordinate something like this a bubble.

    If you’re interesting in jumping in, joining us, and joining the pilot planning and execution committee, email me, or call me at (616) 446-3622, (mobile phone number).

    If you’re thinking about helping in other ways, we’d love you for that too. Call, email, drive over to my house, send me a letter. Make contact. We want you.

    Other related notes:

    Determine next steps after pilot

    Meet with committee weekly on progress

    Have plan for addressing negative feedback at all stages of the game

    Have google group for planning committee to post happenings

    Have audience discussion group online, get ichat accounts, meet regularly for required education

    Provide laptop to teachers?

    Hold Fund-raising events simultaneously

    Printed information, established workshop vs. pilot program

    Established workshop printed information for volunteers, clients and inter-organization use:

    Introductory information for clients:
    • basic introductory information, testimonials
    • application

    Introductory and support information for staff and lead-volunteers:
    • About the program
    • About the workshop
    • Opportunities for involvement (volunteer task options)
    • Clean and installation checklist (software)
    • Condition status/checklist (hardware)
    • Feedback forms
    • Thank you postcards
    • Time-sheets, check in, check out
    • Task lists (daily and event workshop duties)

    In a folder to new clients:
    • FAQ sheet
    • Free wifi location map
    • Available volunteer tasks list
    • Volunteer skills check off, to be returned to workshop
    • Recommend this project to a friend card
    • Check off sheet (for clients to track their progress in the program)
    • Feedback sheet
    • Login and password keeper list
    • Spiral bound notebook, for notes and reference
    • Class list, calendar, registration sheet
    • Community event announcement calendar

    Other resource’s printed materials for clients:
    • Bus schedule
    • City event calendar
    • City map
    • Form to apply for the discounted municipal wiMax access (from Community Media Center)

    Pilot program printed information for volunteers, clients and inter-organization use:

    Introductory information for clients:
    • basic introductory information, testimonials
    • application

    Introductory and support information for staff and lead-volunteers:
    • About the program
    • Opportunities for involvement (volunteer task options)
    • Clean and installation checklist (software)
    • Condition status/checklist (hardware)
    • Feedback forms

    In a folder to new clients:
    • FAQ sheet
    • Free wifi location map
    • Feedback sheet
    • Login and password keeper list

    What else would be needed here? This is just the printed information, what could be digital?

    Types of volunteers needed, draft

    So if we do something like this, we’re going to need help, we’re going to need smart people. Right?

    Example of people

    Photo from flickr-user mayhem, for use under creative commons license

    Board of directors
    Executive director
    Advisors, multilingual
    Consultants

    Website owners, multilingual
    Web portal owners, multilingual
    Email newsletter designer and manager, multilingual
    Email list owner

    New membership team, multilingual
    Member management
    Member tracking, follow up
    Receptionist, multilingual

    Community outreach, multilingual
    Volunteer coordinators, multilingual
    Public relations, program awareness and evangelist, multilingual

    Floor managers, multilingual
    Workshop teachers, multilingual
    One-on-one mentors, multilingual

    Workshop schedule owner (participating organizations)
    Reciprocal organizations resource list owner and evangelist
    Calendar owner
    Events coordinator

    Hardware manager
    Hardware gleaners
    Hardware sorters
    Hardware cleaners/installers
    Software gleaners
    Open source program gurus
    Tech accessory managers

    Writers and content creators
    Printed material creators
    Printed material distributors
    Printed material organizers

    Tech support teams
    Wifi/WiMax gurus

    Fund raisers
    Grant writers

    Accountants
    Lawyers
    Corporate environment navigators (for equipment)
    Financial planners

    Facility managers
    Maintenance personnel

    Who else would we need help from in a project like this? Help me out here…