Finding Ways to Volunteer Virtually
I love this time of year.
Enjoying the great weather, drinking hot lattes, wearing sweaters, and volunteering with Special Olympics Northern California, has always made winter my favorite season. I loved spending my weekends wearing my INC Giving hoodie and running around Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, cheering and coaching athletes during the soccer season. Unfortunately, with Covid-19 cases still on the rise and social distancing guidelines, soccer won’t be happening for a while.
However, not all opportunities to volunteer and help the community are on hold this year.
In fact, like many organizations, non-profits have taken the opportunity to pivot and shift some options online. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and a passion for helping others.
Five Virtual Volunteering Opportunities and Where to Find Them
1. Mock Interviews for Job Seekers
Sign up with organizations that train students and job seekers to prepare for job interviews. Volunteering to conduct virtual mock interviews is a great way to help individuals prepare for interviews that will be conducted online.
Look up job training organizations in your area to find opportunities to help with mock interviews and even to review resumes.
2. Connect with Seniors and Home-bound Individuals
The ongoing pandemic has left seniors even more isolated from the world, leading to higher levels of loneliness and anxiety among the elderly. To help reach out and connect with this at-risk population, volunteers call seniors and home-bound residents once a week to check-in and see how they’re doing.
Research local organizations working with seniors before the pandemic, and see how they’re staying connected and how you can help.
3. Contribute Your Language Skills
If you’re fluent in another language, volunteer to translate documents so they can be accessible for others. The process is simple. Follow the steps to become a certified translator and claim your first assignment with Translators without Borders.
4. Use Your Writing Skills for Good
Non-profits depend on clear communication with donors, volunteers, and their community to keep their organization going. Volunteer your time to write thank-you notes, help organizations tell their inspiring stories or help create engaging social media posts.
These opportunities might not be listed online, so don’t hesitate to reach out and offer your help.
5. Help Blind or Low-Vision Individuals
Sign up to be on call on Be My Eyes, a free app that connects volunteers with blind or low-vision individuals who need help to tackle challenges and solve problems through a live video call.
Spread Kindness and Connect Online
While volunteering online feels like you’re missing out on the vital face-to-face component, I’ve found that these virtual opportunities allow you to connect in a way that wasn’t always available in person or in large groups.
I recently joined a group of volunteers to conduct mock interviews, review LinkedIn Profiles, and give feedback to trainees going through the Computer Technologies Program in Berkeley. Computer Technologies Program (CTP) provides people with disabilities for professional employment by providing technical training, coaching, and associated services. With breakout sessions and one-on-one feedback sessions built into the virtual event, we got the chance to provide much-needed support to individuals looking for help to move forward in their new careers.
And as a volunteer, the opportunity was both a rewarding and humbling experience.
Look for Virtual Opportunities that Interest You
With more and more organizations moving opportunities online, there is probably an opportunity that fits your passion and interest. Reach out to an organization you’re familiar with or try any of the options we listed above.
We’d love to hear how you’re volunteering online. Send us your story or post it online using #incgiving and #makekindnesscontagious, and let’s do our part in spreading kindness.
About the Writer:
Renezen Benedicto is a web content producer for INCMedia.org. She’s a long-time INC Giving volunteer and loves helping local organizations like Muttville and Back on My Feet.