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ARNOVA Annual Conference

Workshop presenters dinner.
Workshop presenters dinner.
J. Wilson, K. Lemba
20 December 2007

By invitation, ICVolunteers participated in the ARNOVA Annual Conference held in Atlanta, United States of Amercia, from 14 to 16 November 2007, to present a paper on the Cybervolunteer experience looking at means and tools to manage volunteers through technology.

ARNOVA is primarily an association that promotes non-profit work in the United States through research, with a particular focus on issues related to volunteerism.

The 2007 ARNOVA Conference brought together researchers, scholars, university professors, practitioners, and academia working in the non-profit field from around the world, to present and discuss papers related to non-profit studies, volunteers and volunteerism, philanthropy, management and finance as well as carry out analysis of graduate student thesis papers.

The case study presented by Jay Wilson of ICVolunteers during the ARNOVA Conference focused on the distance volunteer selection and management for scientific and research related projects for Africa. Specifically, she shared some of the experience with selecting cyber-volunteers for Africa@home, which had received over 250 applications from all over the world, outlining the following points:

  1. Selection of volunteers - means and tools used to identify skills make sure the right person can be assigned to the right job, through a questionnaire and interview process;
  2. Training of volunteers - online tools and management systems, what are the tools that can help with online management for training and resources for reference?
  3. Online management and documentation - follow up mechanisms to make sure the volunteer get the necessary information and attention in the longer run;
  4. Volunteer recognition - volunteers do not get paid money, but it would be wrong to think that they come free. Indeed, motivation is a key factor for successful volunteer activities. A culture of recognition requires appropriate measures and tools to really understand where a volunteer is coming from.

ARNOVA is contemplating expanding internationally to include a practitioners' section to compliment their academic efforts. Contact was made with Secretary of the Board, Roseanne Mirabella, (Education Programs for NGO managers in Africa presentation), for possible collaboration around "Pracademics", a sub- section the purpose of which is to build more effective academic-practitioner relationships in order to foster and disseminate high quality research and strengthen nonprofit management education, community service, voluntary action, and philanthropic studies.

ICVolunteers received an invitation to write a paper regarding on-line volunteering and it's future in collaboration with co-presenters and Movisie. Discussions were also held with to look at the possibility of working together on training international volunteers and multiple language translation.

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