A volunteer is a person who performs or offers to perform a service out of his or her own free will, often without payment. The year 2001 was the International Year of the Volunteer. 2005 is the UK Year of the Volunteer.
People may volunteer to perform some work, e.g., of charitable character. Some volunteer for clinical trials or other medical research, and may even donate their bodies to science after their death.
An online volunteer is a person who contributes time and effort with an organization through an online connection, rather than in person. A wide variety of people from around the world are online volunteers and most are not technology professionals.
Online volunteers may provide advice, consultancy and perform remote administration tasks for the organisation, usually a charity or non-profit organisation. The practice of donating time online goes by other names, such as virtual volunteering, cyber service, telementoring, e-volunteering, and cyber volunteering.
There are many opportunities for people to donate their services using the internet. Online volunteers do a variety of tasks, such as translating documents, editing or preparing proposals, designing logos, researching information, developing strategic plans, reviewing budgets, creating web pages, designing flash presentations, moderating online discussion groups and managing other online volunteers.
An ICT volunteer is someone who is working to foster the implementation and use of Information and Communication Technologies. He or she can install hardware, software or carry on with ICT training programmes. There is no need to be an online volunteer to be an ICT volunteer: installing hardware is a good example. Likewise, there is no need to be an ICT volunteer to be an online volunteer: teaching a language through a virtual campus is not related with ICT fostering, at least in a direct way.