The Power of Volunteers

Posted by Gus Curran, LINGOs Member Services Manager

 What comes to mind when you think volunteers?

Four Hands Joined TogetherNon-profits reach out to volunteers on a regular basis for all kinds of projects and tasks, from stuffing envelopes to helping out at events to doing field work, even building houses.

What could you accomplish if you asked highly skilled learning professionals to volunteer their talents for you and your organization?

If you are Mike Culligan ,Director of LINGOs’ Last Mile Learning Program, the answer to that question is that volunteers can get incredible things done. During the last year, Mike worked with over 80 volunteers to create the Last Mile Learning portal and courses. He recently posted on the Global Giveback LinkedIn Group the following list of accomplishments, completed almost entirely by a team of volunteers.

– 1  website built
– 2 Learning paths created
– 4 Last Mile Learning curriculum guides published (self-led, face-to-face, blended synchronous, blended asynchronous)
– 7 courses translated to Spanish, French and Portuguese
– 13 face to face training packages completed
– 15 eLearning modules developed, and
– 21 additional eLearning modules currently under development

logo last mile learning smallThanks to the support of volunteers, a library of professional development courses is available, FREE OF CHARGE to anybody working to improve the lives poor communities around the world via http://www.LastMileLearning.org.

No Job is too small!

I recently reached out to volunteers on the Global Giveback Group on LinkedIn, asking them to test Last Mile Learning courses. Highly skilled learning professionals responded quickly, and I was moved and humbled by their generosity. As you can imagine, testing courses is not the most glamorous assignment, but volunteers stepped up and did the testing, offering great feedback on the courses and helping to make Last Mile learning even better. One volunteer took my basic Word document reporting forms and improved them, converting them to forms on Google Docs and setting it up so that all the feedback was aggregated and easy to review.  I hadn’t even thought of this, and a volunteer saw the need and reached out to me and offered to help.

No Job is too big!

GregDavisDid you know that volunteers help LINGOs members learn on a regular basis? Greg Davis of Precision eLearning volunteers his time and skills quarterly to lead the Virtual Training Mastery Series, a popular and engaging course which is helping staff of LINGOs member organizations to design and deliver better training online. He designed the workshop pro-bono for LINGOs, and LINGOs being LINGOs, asked him if would be willing to also deliver the workshop. He said yes. He’s lead over 500 people through this course.

PamThomasPam Thomas, owner and certified coach at What’s Within U, LLC,, is a key volunteer for LINGOs from Coaching Out of the Box®. With help from her colleagues, Pam gives several hours of her time each quarter to guide members through a two part online workshop to help them to develop their coaching skills.

Greg and Pam don’t just donate time and experience- both of these volunteers are giving members their materials, as well.

Learning professionals are willing and ready to volunteer

Learning professionals are eager to help.  They are lining up on the Global Giveback LinkedIn group, seeking NGOs whose needs and projects match their interests and skills. All you have to do is reach out to them.  Visit the Global Giveback LinkedIn Group to review posts by potential volunteers. Review the helpful handouts on the LINGOs Global Giveback site to start planning your project with your volunteer.

Optional Competition

In the past, a highlight of Global Giveback has been its element of competition. This year the competition is optional. Non-profits may enter eLearning courses into the competition (with the volunteer’s consent, of course).  A panel of judges for the competition will review courses based on a set of requirements, as in years past. However, it is not required that a project be submitted to the competition. This means that all projects should be considered as potential Global Giveback opportunities, as long as they are related to learning for nonprofit organizations working to improve people’s lives in the developing world. This includes internal courses such as orientations, or converting live workshops into blended courses or elearning.

Learn More at the Global Giveback Webinar

I encourage NGO learning staff to join us for a webinar on May 9 at 11:00AM EDT (click here to register) to learn more about how to use Global Giveback harness the power of volunteers. The webinar will also feature LINGOs members who successfully developed courses with volunteer developers in previous years of Global Giveback, and you can ask them your questions. We look forward to seeing you there.

Eventbrite - The Inside Scoop on Global Giveback 2013 for NGOs

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Read this recent post on the Global Giveback

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