SC Association of Volunteers Presentation


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Tina Arnoldi of Coastal Community Foundation presented at the 2012 SCAVA conference on how Palmetto Technology Hub started without a budget and some of the challenges and successes along the way.

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SC Association of Volunteers Presentation

  1. 1. When you have no money and can’t see your volunteers. Starting Palmetto Technology Hub Tina Arnoldi (843) 723-3635 Twitter: @TinaArnoldi Blog: 1
  2. 2. Agenda1. Overview of PATH and what it is so you understand how it works.2. Steps taken to get the program started.3. Information about how we worked with PATH volunteers. 2
  3. 3. “Back in 2010, a couple of computer geeks saw a number ofnonprofits struggling with their technology and lacking the fundsto pay for support. Out of this need, the Palmetto Technology Hub(PATH) was born. Our mission is to provide technology support andresources to the South Carolina lowcountry not-for-profitcommunity. Through this web site, local nonprofits can submit arequest for tech support. Volunteers sign up through this site tooffer their expertise for free. Requests and expertise so far includesocial media questions, hardware problems, and web site help.This site is entirely volunteer run and we encourage you tobecome involved by either giving help, or requesting some techsupport. ” 3
  4. 4. What PATH is aboutPATH’s mission is toprovide technologysupport and resourcesto the South Carolinalowcountry not-for-profit community.
  5. 5. How Can PATH Help?• PATH provides a ticket system that local non-profits can use to submit a request for tech support.• Technical volunteers sign up at the PATH website to offer their expertise.• Volunteers also provide free training and webinars to nonprofits.• All of this is accessible from *** PATH is a web-based organization ***
  6. 6. Let’s take a look…
  7. 7. Nonprofit Do’s & Don’ts• Be specific• Separate tickets for each issue• No multiple submissions• Remember – it’s a volunteer service• We can refer you to a consultant for big projects
  8. 8. What Type of Help Does PATH Offer?• Answering social media questions• Hardware problems• Web site help• Printer repair• CRM systems
  9. 9. PATH Success Stories“We had a number of computer challenges at the JuniorAchievement Of Coastal SC office in North Charlestonearlier this year—so we placed a request for assistanceon the PATH website. Within 24 hours, we had severaloffers from volunteers willing to assist with ourchallenges.”
  10. 10. PATH Success Stories“As a small organization without the help of a technicalteam member, PATH has been a lifesaver! Each time wehave submitted a ticket for assistance, the response wasquick and the volunteers were very knowledgeable andmore than willing to help. I would recommend thisservice without hesitation. Thank you for the foresight tostart this awesome service and thank you to thevolunteers who have assisted us.”
  11. 11. PATH Success Stories“The Arts Business Civic Coalition (ABCC) is arelatively new nonprofit who mission is to provideSummerville/Dorchester County with a Civic Center.With very little operating funds we have been tryingto get a website up and running…”
  12. 12. ABCC Summerville Website
  13. 13. Yoga Benefits Kids Website
  14. 14. Training• PATH also keeps the nonprofit community informed on the latest FREE technical training offerings.• PATH volunteers present workshops on timely technical topics.
  15. 15. News Feed
  16. 16. PATH welcomes new volunteers
  17. 17. But you need to find them first…• Craigslist• Idealist• VolunteerMatch• United Way• AllforGood• Any others?Always ask how they heard about you
  18. 18. And tell them what it’s about• Mission/goals• Level of commitment• Not a training program• Being responsive
  19. 19. Our TimelineFebruary 2010 October 2010• Will this work? • Our first free training! • Twitter • Informal conversations January 2011• Ask the recipient • Grant moneyMarch/April 2010• Name January 2012• Website • Spin-off• WordPress 20
  20. 20. Getting StartedWhat is the need?• Who are we serving? Only 501c3s or any community group?• What is our service area? County? City?• Talk to your target recipient• Informal conversations• Email threadIs our idea the solution?• Is someone already doing this?• Is there another resource?• Would a chapter in our location duplicate an existing service? (If that’s a possibility, consider a partnership with a similar group.) 21
  21. 21. Getting StartedCan we do this?• Do we have the resources to run a program without a budget?• Try it on a small scale• Are the right people involved?• What can go wrong?What did we do• Think big (statewide), start small (tri-county)• Let it evolve• Set flexible ground rules (ex. Number of tickets) 22
  22. 22. Reach out to your existing – or a new - network• General input • Who will take an active role vs. offer great ideas• Twitter • Reach out on Twitter using the hashtag for your community to find people with similar interests• Create an unofficial Facebook page or group • Send it to your network. This is a good way to determine interest in this type of initiative. 23
  23. 23. Spread the word• E-mail list • SCANPO • Association for fundraising professionals • Local community foundation • Local United Way • Chamber• Social media• Current network• Local media• Similar groups• Other channels? 24
  24. 24. Dear Nonprofits,Thank you for responding to our technology survey………Thanks to Palmettobug Digital, we have a web site up at StartingWednesday, the 17th, you’ll be able to submit your specific technology needs throughthis site. After you submit a request, a volunteer will be able to select cases based onwhat is a good match for them (location, skill level, etc).We have a few requests for you as we get going.Remember we are a work in progress…..Please only submit current, defined needs once the helpdesk is up on the website…….Please be patient! This is a volunteer run effort……Tell us you love us! Seriously, if this is working for you as we move along, or you havesuggestions for improving the process, please let us know.If you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to and someone will get back to you. 25
  25. 25. Keep people informed of your progressSept 2010 update to nonprofitsDear Nonprofits,We’ve had some successes and some challenges. Help desk cases are beingclosed and I’ve had some great feedback from nonprofits. However, therehave also been some that stay open for a while. Part of the problem is thatvolunteers rotate in and out, and there are sometimes communication gapsbetween the volunteers and nonprofits. If you have a case that’s open toolong & decide to go another route, please do close out the case. I am workingon getting an intern to help me manage this whole process to make it easieron everyone. 26
  26. 26. Stay connected with your volunteersFebruary 2011 update to volunteersTraining: Vicki is a new volunteer here at CCF and she is helping to coordinatetraining…………………………E-news: If you haven’t subscribed yet, you should! I’d definitely like yourfeedback as we get it started because I absolutely am NOT an expert in all-things-newsletters - lunch? I haven’t met many of you & would really like to. I know it’sprobably impossible for many of you to get away & come downtown duringthe lunch hour. However, if you can, let me know & I’ll coordinate a time inour conference room. It would be a casual meet-and-greet and brainstormingsession. I welcome any ideas, suggestions, comments, and constructivecriticism. 27
  27. 27. Running smoothly• Written description for leadership team• Have a point person • Web - Michael • Training - Vicki • Help desk cases - Tina• Have a “complaint” person – Tina• Shared email address = info@ 28
  28. 28. Running smoothly• Document • Help desk notes • Google Voice• Timelines • Ex. “Every 7-10 days….”• Collaboration tools• Check-in – allow them to withdraw gracefully 29
  29. 29. Volunteer recognition• Have a sponsor pay for pizza in exchange for recognition• Offer opportunities – invite to NP training• Thank you emails (personal)• Showcase on website• Bring them into your community• Crash someone else’s event• Promote their business 30
  30. 30. Volunteer recognition• Barter • NP donated passes to their site in exchange for service • Company support in exchange for logo display• Point system• Volunteer of the Month• Reference letters• Thank you note from service recipient• Other ideas? 31
  31. 31. Volunteer recognition 32
  32. 32. Volunteer recognition - $• Pizza out of pocket• Thank you postcards• Small tokens (keychain, mug)• Gift cards• Other ideas? 33
  33. 33. Volunteer recognition 34
  34. 34. Volunteer (and nonprofit) recognition 35
  35. 35. What we did right…• Brainstorming sessions – email, phone, in- person• Being willing to shell out for minimal out-of- pocket expenses • Business cards (website & phone number) • Pizza• Asking the target audience 36
  36. 36. What we did right…• Using free tools• Establishing a presence • Basic website • Social media • Google Voice phone number 37
  37. 37. What we could have done better….• Clearly define roles• Acknowledge birthdays• Track time from the start• Written signed policies 38
  38. 38. What we could have done better….• More one-to-one volunteer contact• Getting mailing addresses from the start• System for checking in once a month• Asked nonprofit clients to promote us in their materials 39
  39. 39. Free Tools• WordPress• Community Corp• FreeScreenSharing• Google Docs• Google Voice• EventBrite• Volunteer sites• Facebook & Twitter (obviously) 40
  40. 40. When you have no money and can’t see your volunteers. Tina Arnoldi (843) 723-3635 Twitter: @TinaArnoldi Blog: 41