I'm running a volunteering agency called 'AMAIDI Volunteering in India', located near Pondicherry, South-India. Every year about 70 volunteers from all over the globe come and work in Indian organizations, mostly charitable Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Next to their physical and/or intellectual contribution, many volunteers plan to contribute in cash towards the aims of 'their' organization. They figure out - some of them real fast - what is needed the most, have a chat (or two) with the org's managing director and fix a target (a playground, washing machine, toilets, a course in accountancy for women Self Help Group leaders a.s.f.) and get it implemented preferably during their tenure. To sense the immense gratification of having actually contributed to the pleasure of the organizations beneficiaries (mostly children or women or both).
When these volunteer-donors go home, fairly quickly they get drawn into the turmoil that is called 'their lives' back in Europe, US or Asia. Many of them - over the years - do not stay in touch with AMAIDI. Until Facebook came along, that is. Social Media have literally brought them again into the picture. Status updates and regular posting of photographs reminding me (and them) of the good times they had in India, I find weekly on my digital doorstep. Friends' requests - if I trace them before they trace me - are always granted, as a result of which I have at least 75% of my ex-volunteers as a FB friend. They do not (yet) regularly react on my status updates (as I regretfully don't do that but should do that with theirs), but a message (now and then), a cute link placed by me or photographs shared in Live Feed, nearly always evokes a reaction of someone. It shows prolonged commitment. But .. so far I haven't used that commitment or should I say: channeled it. For lack of ideas and perhaps lack of offering them something interesting. That also has a positive spin off here in India, for my Indian NGO partners where they have been working.
I will come to the point (if you are still with me to read this, I hope l-): I am thinking to issue 'shares' of some kind. The motto I can think of right now is: 'you have given your share (working as a volunteer), we will give ours (to you)'. The deeper thought behind it is to 'involve-connect-give ownership' to the (ex)volunteer for the achievements he or she has reached in India. And to keep the bond with country and project organization alive. Furthermore having/being able to *buy* or *get* (how would that be?) shares, must fuel the (ex)volunteer's imagination and commitment to stay involved in local development of the beneficiaries supported by his/her volunteering in India.
I would now need your input to further develop this idea, to bring it to a stage where I can look at it and give it 'hands and feet', to implement it, start a pilot of some sorts .. all in all: to make it work. With a clear aim.
Looking forward to your comment,
All the best,
Camille van Neer