The pandemic has forced many people to remain indoors and suspend their regular activities, including community engagement and volunteering. Depending on location and relative risk, it may not be possible for many people to go back out in public for some time. If you still want to volunteer, virtual volunteering may be a great option. It’s also an excellent opportunity for those who have limited time to spare but still want to engage with their community or help introduce children and teenagers to volunteering gradually.
What is it?
Virtual volunteering is precisely as it sounds; it allows people to volunteer in a non-traditional manner through online participation. This allows more flexibility in terms of time and capability while still offering an opportunity to help and interact with other community members. All you need is a computer, the internet, and the desire to help.
What kind of virtual volunteer opportunities are available?
Whatever your passion, you can probably find an organization that needs some assistance online. The United Nations Volunteer website can provide opportunities to use specialized skills like writing and artistic ability. Those fluent in multiple languages can donate their time at Translators Without Borders. Anyone interested in contributing to collective knowledge and scientific discovery should check out Zooniverse and the Smithsonian Digital Volunteers website. As with all volunteering, the most essential part is to choose a cause you’re passionate about.
The benefits of virtual volunteering
Virtual volunteering is an excellent option for those feeling lonely or isolated by the pandemic. It provides an opportunity to talk and work with other people constructively. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated the positive mental health benefits of community engagement, so not only will you be helping others, but you’ll be practicing a form of self-care, as well. It can also be a great way to learn new skills and practice ones you already have; experience is one of the best teachers, and working on your abilities in a way that directly helps people can be highly motivating.
If you have some extra time and want to help, consider virtual volunteering as a quick and easy way to contribute your time and try out a variety of different opportunities.