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A free resource for nonprofit organizations, NGOs, civil society organizations,
public sector organizations, and other mission-based agencies

Jayne Cravens,

Impact Online logo

A history

Impact Online was a nonprofit organization founded in the mid 1990s. It was one of the first web sites, and maybe the first web site, where nonprofits could post their volunteering opportunities and people that wanted to help could sign up to help. In 1998 or 1999, it became VolunteerMatch.

Unfortunately, someone requested that old versions of the Impact Online web site be removed from the Internet Wayback Machine, and so all archives of the original web site are gone.

Luckily, I downloaded some of text and graphics from that original, pioneering web site. I'm sharing them here because the original Impact Online initiative deserves to be remembered and honored.

Here's the original text from the 1995 version of the web site about why the organization was founded. Note the mention of virtual volunteering - the first use of the phrase anywhere online or off.

Here is the original text from the 1995 version of the site about the complete history of the organization.

Here is a list of the online volunteers that helped Impact Online (a list maintained by the Virtual Volunteering Project, an initiative launched by Impact Online)

Sadly, I don't have the home page downloaded anywhere.

Below are two graphics from the original site. All designs are by Mark Bult:

Impact Online logo

Impact Online navigation buttons

The archived version of the Impact Online web site, which we all had access to via but was removed by request of VolunteerMatch, said, "Using Internet technology to facilitate and increase community involvement was the idea behind Impact Online." Impact Online was founded by four MBA students: Steve Glikbarg, Cindy Shove, Mark Benning and Joanne Ernst. As Glikbarg noted in that Impact Online history (part of which I had downloaded many years ago - hence why I can quote this), "Being well-trained MBA alumni, we diligently developed a business plan, made financial statements three years into the future, extrapolated the rapid growth of the Internet and explained how this new medium could revolutionize community involvement. But we were early and few people seemed to grasp the potential... charitable foundations assumed we were looking to fund a technology project (something few do) instead of funding a community outreach project (which many do fund)." Impact Online, and particularly Steve Glikbarg, deserve a lot of credit for getting nonprofit organizations in the USA online, particularly on the West Coast, both through the web site and through the founders' many meetings with and events for nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. They also deserve credit for something else: in 1996, Impact Online secured funding for what became The Virtual Volunteering Project.

If you want detailed information on how to work with online volunteers, and how to fully integrate virtual volunteering in to all of your community engagement, see:

 The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook

available for purchase as a paperback & an ebook

from Energize, Inc.
Completely revised and updated, & includes lots more advice about microvolunteering!
Published January 2014.

Also see:

  • United Nations ICT4D Initiatives
    Various United Nations offices have launched initiatives to promote the use of computers, feature phones, smart phones and various networked devices in development and humanitarian activities, to promote digital literacy and equitable access to the "information society," and to bridge the digital divide. This web page is my effort to track UN Tech4Good / ICT4D programs, from the oldest through 2016. My goal is to primarily to help researchers, as well as to remind current UN initiatives that much work regarding ICT4D has been done by various UN employees, consultants and volunteers for more than 15 years (and perhaps longer?).
  • Studies and Research Regarding Online Volunteering / Virtual Volunteering
    While there is a plethora of articles and information about online volunteering, there has been very little research published regarding the subject. This is a compilation of publicly-available research regarding online volunteering, and a list of suggested possible angles for researching online volunteering. New contributions to this page are welcomed, including regarding online mentoring programs.
  • Incorporating virtual volunteering into a corporate employee volunteer program (a resource for businesses / for-profit companies)
    Virtual volunteering - volunteers providing service via a computer, smart phone, tablet or other networked advice - presents a great opportunity for companies to expand their employee philanthropic offerings. Through virtual volunteering, some employees will choose to help organizations online that they are already helping onsite. Other employees who are unable to volunteer onsite at a nonprofit or school will choose to volunteer online because of the convenience.
  • Al Gore Campaign Pioneered Virtual Volunteering
    Back in 2000, when Al Gore ran for president, his campaign championed virtual volunteering by recruiting online volunteers to help online with his election efforts. I've tried to present some of what his campaign did - this pioneering effort deserves to be remembered, as do some of the lessons from such.
  • Using Third Party Web Sites Like VolunteerMatch to Recruit Volunteers
    There are lots and lots of web sites out there to help your organization recruit volunteers. You don't have to use them all, but you do need to make sure you use them correctly in order to get the maximum response to your posts.

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    The art work and material on this site was created and is copyrighted 1996-2017
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