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Digital Care Circles: The Future in Volunteering?

Digital Care Circles: The Future in Volunteering?

People in concentric circles

Part One of a Four-Part Series

A chance encounter with volunteering legend Susan J. Ellis–in a New York City hotel lobby during the 1997 Points of Light conference–sets the stage for the start of this three-part series on “Digital Care Circles: The  Future in Volunteering?”

In this feature series, author Todd McMullin with Dana Litwin and Joan Cardellino first explain the concept of Digital Care Circles and why they go beyond peer-to-peer engagement by helping volunteers create and manage their own “care circles” of peers around the people, causes, topics and communities they care about. Later in the series, additional articles by McMullin, Litwin and Cardellino will expand on socialized outcome measuring, the science behind modern trends, meta-governance, the national platform concept and how to do all of this while harnessing, focusing, measuring and managing collectively and collaboratively.

The authors promise a deeper dive into ways we can all work together to bring these new ideas to fruition. And they suggest some pathways forward for Volunteer Engagement Leaders to consider as we transition programs to a new way of thinking.

To read the full article

Mon, 02/27/2023

Can't wait for next installment on this one! What an incredible concept. This has certainly changed my perspective of how we might engage Volunteers in Care Circles to further the future of our Volunteer Program. Imagine if working groups were framed this way how much extra work would be completed by people truly passionate about the work.  

Tue, 03/21/2023

Hi Lana!

I'm sorry it took a few weeks to respond to your very-kind comments on our vision. It's one we all really share, and it's "core" (I think) to our very nature. We love to share burdens and just be good neighbors to one another. Technology can facilitate so much good. Please send us any ideas you might have on how these ideas can be improved, applied, etc. After all, we're just one big "Care Circle" on the topic of Care Circles. :)

- Todd

Mon, 07/17/2023

What a brilliant and thought provoking article and love how you demonstrate so clearly the potential of technology to support that organic and grassroots response to human need. It made me envisage the volunteer manager being a resource, which can be drawn on by circles - our role being in service to them/their purpose, rather than in control of them. I also love the way that roles become more fluid - breaking down those negative binaries of helper/helped, rescuer/victim. 

Looking forward to reading part two.