The COVID-19 pandemic had prompted something never seen before — a dramatic increase in volunteerism. Not just in the United States, but globally.
According to a LinkedIn study, there have been over 110,000 volunteer experiences added to a member’s profile each month. The increase is two-and-a-half times the monthly count in 2017. Globally, the International Committee of the Red Cross admitted that European countries have risen to volunteer. Roughly 48,000 from the Netherlands and 60,000 from Italy have become new volunteers for the Red Cross.
The cause of this sudden surge is the ongoing pandemic. Quarantine, or lockdown, has led people regardless of age to suddenly contribute. Since traditional community service became much harder to connect with, people started seeking a virtual alternative. The result: a boost of online community service opportunities.
Virtual volunteering is the act of assisting organizations or nonprofits remotely. Typically, through technological means such as the Internet. The organization can offer entirely remote-based work or a hybrid of partially remote and traditional work.
High school and college students have plenty of opportunities to virtually volunteer. In fact, VolunteerMatch had stated that online community service opportunities increased from 32% in March to 51% in October of 2020.
When it comes to remote volunteering, there are plenty of benefits. Perhaps even more than traditional community service. If you’re considering whether to participate in online community service, check out the benefits:
We have provided a list categorized into genres such as literacy and health. This list provides the names of many virtual or partially virtual organizations. Each one has different restrictions or deadlines to apply.
The American Red Cross is a mostly traditional nonprofit. Recently, they added the option to be a digital volunteer. In order to be one, you must have an active social media account and be able to use a computer for 4 hours. Your tasks will include monitoring conversations of disaster-affected people and sharing important updates through the Red Cross social media account.
IMAlive is a suicide prevention hotline completely run by volunteers. You can communicate through an online crisis chat to help people who are battling with dark thoughts. IMAlive volunteers take a 10-hour online course and commit 20 hours to practice chats with other volunteers and experienced IMAlive Trainers.
Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7 crisis hotline for people in need of emotional support. All training is provided for free, but you must meet 200 hours of commitment. Training is roughly 30 hours. After that, you’ll be able to become a Crisis Counselor working with other volunteers, social workers, therapists, and psychiatrists.
Be My Eyes is an app for blind or low-vision people to connect with volunteers through video chat. Visually impaired people can ask for visual assistance by sending a call to a sighted volunteer. You can help them feel more independent in their lives!
Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) is a database used by humanitarians, researchers, and other professionals looking into a crisis. Volunteers help by extracting data of emergencies or crises into a visual format. It makes it for professionals to use the data for analyses.
Amnesty Decoders is a branch of Amnesty International; it is a network of digital volunteers dedicated to helping researchers go through digital media to find evidence of human rights violations. Volunteers are able to find evidence of oil spills, drone strikes, and online abuse against Indian women politicians.
Sidelines offers virtual support for women during high-risk pregnancies or premature birth. Volunteers for Sidelines consist of women who were supported by the organization. To be a member, you would need to be a woman who has experienced pregnancy.
The Trevor Project is an organization that specializes in providing support for gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Volunteers use a crisis hotline to communicate with LGBTQ kids and teens to provide emotional support. Virtual training lasts 40 hours and volunteers are expected to make a one-year commitment.
RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Volunteers must commit to at least 10 hours per month, serving 18 months of service. Training is roughly 20 hours and three live learning sessions must be attended.
VocaliD creates synthetic voices for people who have lost their voice or are speech-impaired. They do this by creating a unique voice collected from a voicebank. You can participate by doing reading recordings so that your voice can become someone’s unique voice!
Translators Without Borders focuses heavily on health and crisis. Volunteers are expected to translate crisis and medical responses for humanitarian purposes. The minimum requirement is to be fluent in a language other than your native one. Other volunteer positions such as web or graphic designers are also available.
Tarjimly supports millions of refugees, immigrants, and asylees by providing language support. If you’re multilingual, you have the opportunity to help these people by breaking the language barrier.
Bookshare offers books catered to people with reading disabilities; this includes dyslexic, visual impairment, or learning disabilities. You can volunteer by either scanning books that aren’t in the collection yet or proofread and format them.
TED Translators are entirely made up of volunteers. You can become one by being proficient in one or multiple languages. Then, start providing captions for TED Talks in whichever language you’re fluent in.
Learning Ally provides audiobooks for students who struggle with digesting literacy. While text can be read from text to speech, it cannot pick up illustrations.
Distributed Proofreaders is the volunteer section of Project Gutenberg. It is a library with over 60,000 free eBooks for the public. You can contribute by transforming books into digital text or proofreading.
Smithsonian Digital Volunteers revolves around the transcription of artifacts or historical documents. You can also help by inspecting pictures of gardens, gathering information about animals, or track changes in fouling communities.
Writing Wonder Organization was founded during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their mission is to craft letters and send them traditionally or virtually to struggling kids, the elderly, or healthcare workers.
The Kids Circle Foundation’s mission is to enhance the lives of kids through any means necessary. As a volunteer, you can join various teams such as web development, graphic design, academic, blog writing, social media, or research. If you’re leaning on educating kids, you can also tutor them.
Career Village is an online platform that answers questions from students about their careers. Volunteers need to have LinkedIn and relevant work experience in order to answer these questions.
TeensGive reduces the stress of transportation for tutors and instead offers a virtual alternative. Virtual volunteers can tutor through live sessions.
TutorMate is a tutoring-based organization that was founded in the United States and has spread to the UK and Canada. Volunteers tutor children ages 5-7 in their literacy struggles. As a result, you must be willing to work with young children in this role.
PA eMentoring is a youth tutoring program with older and experienced volunteers. The organization is looking for working or retired adults, parents, and mature college students. You can volunteer 15 minutes per week mentoring teens and young adults. You must also be willing to write and share your college or career story.
Science Buddies hosts the Ask an Expert program, a volunteer program where students or parents can ask volunteers questions about science topics. Students vary from kindergarten to twelfth-grade level. So, there are many opportunities to collaborate with different age groups.
Mozilla, the organization behind Firefox, is a nonprofit always seeking volunteers. You can become a volunteer by translating content, coding, or provide community support.
Geeks Without Bounds is an organization wanting to bridge the gap between technology and humanitarian crisis. Volunteers need to be IT certified or professionals willing to establish a relationship with the organization.
At CodePath, you can become a mentor to students, lead workshops, or even co-host events. In addition, you can also become a teaching assistant or curriculum developer.
United Nations has many opportunities for digital volunteers to contribute. You are able to contribute in writing, art, design, translation, outreach, research, technology development, teaching, leadership, project development, healthcare services, and more!
Zooniverse is centered around the research of either broad or niche subjects. You can volunteer on a project or act as a Beta Test or Project Moderator.
As you can see, there are so many online community service opportunities you can partake in! Virtual volunteering is a great way to boost your skills and resume. Have fun and good luck!
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