One positive outcome of the recent pandemic is that more jobs and learning opportunities can be performed from home simply with a computer and internet connection. Zoom and other online platforms enable virtual learning, connecting with others, and the ability to hold meetings from the safety of our homes.
Nonprofits and charities continue to incorporate many virtual opportunities so people can offer their skills and services in a way that fits into their busy schedules. With today’s technology, it is easy to find a virtual volunteer opportunity where you can still make a difference – not just in your local community but anywhere in the world! (And you won’t have to pay more for gas!)
Why Volunteer Virtually from Home?
You can give back by using your skill set or acquiring new experience.
Charities and nonprofits always need volunteers with specific skill sets to do work they cannot employ in-house because of tight budgets. Using your acquired skills not only lessens their workload but also helps you. How? Sharpening your abilities with a nonprofit can offer increased employability, especially if you are unemployed due to COVID_19. Additionally, a volunteer position can help you gain experience in a new area for a future opportunity. Many nonprofits offer free training to prepare you for a long-time role, another bonus.
It gets you plugged back into your community.
Post pandemic, many of us are still maneuvering back into many aspects of society and pushing ourselves out of self-isolation. Even online, volunteering virtually helps you to meet other like-minded people and widen your social network. Our mental health will improve by connecting with others.
You can raise awareness by advocating for a cause locally or globally.
Technology allows us to communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world. You can use your voice to raise awareness for an organization, whether it influences people or causes locally or elsewhere in the world. You can feel satisfied knowing that you are making a difference and are part of a larger mission, even at the computer or with your smartphone.
It offers flexible schedules and commitments.
For students attending school or full-time professionals, the desire to volunteer is often minimized due to jam-packed schedules. While some organizations may require a minimum time commitment for specific openings, many volunteer jobs can usually be worked around your schedule and without the need to build in travel time.
It can allow you to pursue your passions.
Many organizations have exciting positions where you can volunteer using a learned area of expertise, passion, or hobby. For instance,
If you have a love for books:
- With a decent microphone and recording capabilities, you can record chapters of books for LibriVox.
- Become a proofreader of e-books converted from Public Domain books at Distributed Proofreaders.
- Use your home scanner to scan books for Bookshare’scollection. They also need proofreaders, in addition to mentor teachers and parent ambassadors.
If you are good with words:
- With proficiency in a second language, get critical information in other parts of the world by becoming a translator, or
- Help millions of refugees in need of humanitarian assistance as a translator.
- Send weekly notes of encouragement to patients undergoing chemotherapy as a Card Angel.
- Make a difference in the lives of older adults by making calls, sending cards, and connecting over Zoom to help relieve loneliness.
- Spread love and support by writing handwritten lettersto those dealing with depression.
If you want to help kids:
- Volunteer to answer questions from students who want to be in your profession one day.
- Become a Crisis Text Counselor, the perfect position if you are a night owl and use WhatsApp.
- E-mentor a high school student from a low-income community with iCouldBeor
- E-mentor 3rd – 8thgraders from underserved schools at Cricket Together.
If you like using technology:
- Advocate on social media to further a message for the American Cancer Society
- Help people lost to history get found by their families with virtual opportunities through Family Search.
- Contact your favorite charities (or local libraries) to offer a virtual class in your area of expertise for their clients.
How to find more at-home volunteer opportunities:
To locate a volunteer position in a specific field that fits your talents, skills, and schedule, use one of the search engines:
When applying as a virtual volunteer:
When looking for a virtual volunteer opening, you may find many exciting opportunities that may seem perfect for you. However, be entirely informed before applying. Read all the information about the position on the organization’s website or call to ask questions. Also try to keep these things in mind:
- Ensure you meet all the organization’s and position’s qualifications before applying, including time commitments and scheduling requirements.
- Understand that an in-person (or Zoom) interview may be required so the organization can get to know you and what you can bring to them. Treat the interview seriously as if you were interviewing for a paid position.
- Don’t commit to any long-term positions if you have health issues that may cause unforeseen absences or have a job requiring a lot of travel.
- Be mindful that your desired position may require job-specific, scheduled training which costs an organization precious time and money. If you are unsure whether you can complete the training, or promise a specific length of time in the position, choose something else.
- Consider that you may need to volunteer in one area for some time to learn more about the organization before being moved into a position with more responsibilities.
- Remember that even as a volunteer, you will be considered an essential team member for that nonprofit. Use the same employment courtesies you would use in any other paid work. Be an advocate of the organization’s mission with your own network.