Virtual Volunteering Part 1: Amazing Ideas for Individuals!
Do you want to volunteer but can’t seem to fit it into your busy schedule or can only do it at odd hours? Are you looking for a way to give back that lets you do it when, where and how it best works for you? Do you have mobility/ability challenges that prevent you from traveling to various locations to volunteer? I have solutions for you!
Join me in exploring amazing volunteer opportunities that work whenever, wherever and however volunteering works best for you!
Today’s post is Part 1 of a 3-post series exploring all sorts of alternative volunteering ideas designed to work with any schedule and availability. Part 1 focuses on amazing ideas for individuals. Part 2 will focus on opportunities for families and Part 3 will focus on opportunities for groups.
Now, let’s get started… the world NEEDS YOU!
Virtual volunteering allows you to participate in meaningful ways and to do so when, where and how it best works for you.
The benefits are extensive! You can expect to:
- Provide much needed support and services to others,
- Build your empathy and resilience through helping others,
- Create connections across the globe,
- Gain new experiences and insights,
- Put your existing skills, passions and interests to good use (and learn new ones)
All of this while easily fitting it into your busy schedule, since Virtual Volunteer opportunities are typically super-flexible when it comes to time requirement and frequency (from a one-time single hour to ongoing frequent participation).
The first step is to think about three things:
- What activity would you love most? (Painting? Writing? Video chatting? Social media posting? Community organizing? There is really no end to the types of opportunities available.)
- How much time do you want to commit? Are you looking for a one-time event that lasts an hour, something with ongoing, regular activity, or something in between?
- What kinds of organizations and causes are you passionate about? Animals? Literature? Homeless? Food insecure? Children? Education? There’s a way to help anything you are passionate about.
Once you’ve answered those 3 questions you can begin your search. I personally find opportunities in one of three ways:
- By contacting a specific organization I am interested in and speaking with the volunteer coordinator to see how I can help.
- By signing up for volunteer boards. These sites let you look for volunteer opportunities by location and/or date and you can often filter by “virtual” opportunities. Some of the ones I use include VolunteerMatch, JustServe, PointsOfLight and CreateTheGood. Many states have local ones too, like JerseyCares and HandsOnAtlanta.
- By looking on CraigsList. You can find all sorts of hyper-local community volunteer opportunities there, including virtual ones.
Here are some of the coolest virtual volunteer opportunities I’ve seen! Let these 8 diverse, unique and amazing Virtual Volunteer opportunities to inspire you to be creative about getting involved….
ONE: Be part of a cutting edge Research Team and contribute to science
Zooniverse is a platform for people-powered research and enables people across the globe to participate in research in science, humanities, environment and more. You’ll work alongside scientists and University groups and join thousands of people from around the world in helping uncover secrets of life and the universe.
From listening to Red Tail Hawk songs in order to understand behavior, to hunting for muons disguised as gamma rays, to hunting down criminals in history, to saving endangered animals using thermal cameras on drones, there are almost 100 diverse and fascinating projects to choose from, each of which allow you to work virtually on the project.
Check out their projects and register at: https://www.zooniverse.org/
TWO: Become a virtual grandparent to children in countries with limited educational resources
Organization: The Granny Cloud
Open to all genders (ages 24 and up), members of the Granny Cloud interact with groups of children countries around the world in activities from reading and storytelling to crafts, solving puzzles and exploring BIG questions. This activity does have an ongoing time requirement (because they want the children and the granny to develop a strong bond).
Check out the requirements and learn more at: http://thegrannycloud.org/
THREE: Develop and design literature and social media campaigns
Organization: The Survivant Organization
The Survivant Organization works to end domestic violence and sexual abuse through education and advocacy and virtual volunteers are needed for everything from research and reviewing of literature, to preparing literatuture and social media campaigns for outreach.
You can help work on projects for high school, college and communities.
Connect with The Survivant Organization at: http://www.thesurvivant.org/
FOUR: Write an article and get published
Organization: The Borgen Project
If you are passionate about fighting poverty and love to write, you can author an article for the Borgen Project, an organization whose mission is to get world leaders to do more to address global poverty. Focused on starvation, food insecurity, newborn and child welfare, access to clean water and Food Aid reform, The Borgen Project meets with US Congressional leaders, mobilizes people across the globe, educates citizens and build awareness.
You can become a guest contributor and send in as many articles as you’d like as often as you’d like. It’s an excellent opportunity to have your article read by over 200,000 people a month.
Learn more about the organization and about becoming a guest contributor by visiting their website at: https://borgenproject.org/
FIVE: Proofread all, or part, of an e-Book
Organization: Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg publishes, creates and distributes free electronic eBooks. Virtual volunteers are needed to help proofread eBooks before publication, search for and procure paper books eligible for transformation into paper books, and burn CDs and DVDs of books for people around the globe without access to Internet.
This organization is 100% volunteer run and they currently over almost 60,000 free eBooks!
Check out their site and how you can help at: http://www.gutenberg.org/
SIX: Create a simple, no-sew blanket for a child in a hospital or emergency shelter
Organization: Project Linus
Using their simple patterns you can create a blanket to send to a child in need (hospitalized, shelter, emergency/disaster recovery, etc.). You CAN choose to knit or sew, but you don’t have to – Project Linus provides patterns for simple, tied blankets that are just as effective. It’s like sending these needy children a huge HUG!
Check out their patterns and register at: https://www.projectlinus.org/
SEVEN: Pick up a case of goods to send to American Troops and/or their K-9 Units overseas
Organization: Support Our Troops
You can boost the morale and well-being of our deployed troops worldwide by buying and shipping care boxes containing most-wanted items.
Plan to pick up specific goods on your next trip to the supermarket, write a heartfelt note, and send it in to Support Our Troops, who will distribute it with other goods to deployed soldiers.
Check out the list of most-needed items and how to send them in here: https://supportourtroops.org/care-packages
EIGHT: Join a Virtual Race, get a medal, some exercise, and run for a great cause!
Organization: Virtual Run Events
Get out there and get some exercise while supporting a charity! Virtual Run Events has over 50 races that support all kinds of causes. Sign up, run/walk the race, and earn your bib and medal. Some races have t-shirts available and there are plenty of choices of all different distances from 1 mile to marathon. The medals are cool and the causes are amazing!
I do these a lot and ran the 2019 Super Heroes Day 5K while vacationing in Amboise, France….
15% of my registration fee went to support IRun4, an organization that matches together runners and buddies with special needs. They currently serve over 45,000 runners across 50 states and in 98 countries!
Check out all the Virtual Races, medals, and charities… and sign up for your race here: https://virtualrunevent.com/
I hope these eight ideas get your creativity moving when thinking about the endless ways you can volunteer from anywhere!
Have a favorite virtual opportunity you’d like to share? Have questions on specific opportunities you are searching for? Leave a comment below and I’ll reply.
Thank you for joining me this week!