07 Oct Virtual Volunteering
Ways to Stay Engaged in This New Normal
By Hunter Laine
Virtual Volunteering. Add that to the rapidly growing list of phrases that meant nothing to me this time last year, but have become a part of my daily vocabulary. It goes right up there with ‘Social Distancing’, ‘Community Spread’, and ‘Anti-Masker’. The ‘me’ of one year ago, would have stared blankly at anyone who attempted to drop these into normal conversation. Now, I’m surprised to get out of any discussion without hearing at least one.
In the past 7 months, our vocabulary has changed and so have many of our general practices. Many of us would be regularly volunteering on our own or with our companies. However, the current difficulty engaging with the world physically, has made it much harder to seek out volunteer opportunities. But those organizations that we volunteered with can still use our support, even from afar.
Check out these organizations finding ways to make virtual volunteering possible:
HandsOn Bay Area is a non-profit organization helping to connect companies and members of the community to volunteer opportunities. In response to the pandemic and subsequent quarantine, they have adapted to offer virtual and remote volunteer opportunities. Their virtual volunteer option, HandsOnline, is generally aimed at companies. It gives an opportunity for team building while giving back to the community. Another option for companies or a group of friends and family, is their Project in a Box
option. HandsOnline will send a box with instructions and materials needed to complete a volunteer project ranging anywhere from literacy kits to herb garden kits
Points of Light is a volunteer organization dedicated to helping people find ways to get involved and help out in a ridiculously wide cross-section of areas. They offer virtual volunteer ideas and opportunities for everything from disasters and maps to entrepreneurial mentorship to science and engineering. Find ways to get involved that pertain specifically to your experience and skill set.
Operation Gratitude has started a virtual volunteering campaign, asking individuals, groups, and companies to volunteer to write letters and care packages to send to “Deployed Troops, National Guardsmen, First Responders, and Emergency Medical Personnel on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.” This organization allows you to express gratitude to the incredible people fighting here at home and abroad for our health and safety.
Another great way to find varied virtual volunteering opportunities, is to go to VolunteerMatch, where you can find tons of opportunities with organizations all over. Find ways to contribute your technical skills to a worthy cause.
With everything going on right now, first and foremost make sure that you are taking care of yourself. Then go find ways to help out others. If you find yourself feeling isolated and discouraged by the way things are right now, use one of the many resources above to start actively working to make the world a better place, virtually!