Blog Post

How to Engage Volunteers Online

Many citizen science projects are pivoting in-person volunteer trainings and meetings to the online sphere in response to Covid-19 related cancelations. We are curious how you are doing this? What’s been working, what do you need help with?

Citizen science projects often rely on data collected during these fleeting spring months and we know you are working hard to come up with solutions to keep your projects going. Below is a selection of resources on creating video tutorials and online meetings, examples how-to videos for citizen science, and links to CSA volunteer engagement webinars to help you prepare online volunteer trainings this spring.

Tips for Engaging Volunteers with Video:

  1. Keep it short (1-2 minutes)
  2. Grab attention quickly
  3. Add subtitles
  4. Be authentic
  5. Show impact
  6. It doesn’t have to be professional (an instagram live style video is perfectly acceptable- especially now!)
  7. Present a clear call to action

List above from: How To Attract Volunteers With The Power Of Video by Elysia Gabe March 19, 2019

A quick video with good advice on how to lead quick and productive Zoom meetings (perfect for virtual volunteer meetings!)

The Ultimate Guide to Easily Make Instructional Videos from TechSmith has lots technical tips and detailed advice on making instructional videos.

SciStarter and Science Friday recently recorded a webinar on how to Host or Facilitate Remote, Live-Streamed Citizen Science Events that has some great tips (facilitation and technical) about hosting remote events-appropriate for volunteer trainings.

Examples of How to Videos for Citizen Science:

Many citizen science projects were creating promotional and how to videos long before the Covid-19 outbreak.

CSA communications advisor Kris Stepenuck (see career path post here) shared these examples of online trainings for water quality monitoring that showcase how to do technical trainings in a virtual platform.

Volunteer Engagement Tips from the Archives

Remember- the same rules for volunteer engagement still apply with virtual events. Catch up on one of these past CSA volunteer engagement webinars.

The resources shared in this list is just a starting point. We hope to add more to this list in coming weeks as more people share how they have been engaging volunteers online. Tweet us @CitSciAssoc with examples of online volunteer training materials or volunteer meetings for citizen science so we can share them with our community.

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