Virtual Volunteering: How to Make an Impact from Home
With many people under ‘shelter-in-place’ orders and many others taking self-isolation measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, emotions are high across the U.S. and globally. Giving back to others is one of the best ways to boost your spirits – and needed especially now.
Some organizations are stepping up to provide a link between volunteers and those in need of support, with a focus on helping from the distance and comfort of your own home. All you need is a phone or the internet and a big heart. Cheer yourself and cheer others! Here are some ways that you can get involved in volunteer efforts during the COVID-19 emergency.
10 Websites Offering At-Home Volunteer Opportunities
All for Good is a digital hub for volunteerism and community engagement that pulls volunteer opportunities from multiple sites around the web via feeds in order to provide the most comprehensive database of volunteer openings around the world. Clicking on the ‘Volunteer from Home’ banner on the home page takes you to the Remote Opportunities search page where you can find thousands of opportunities including requests for wellness check volunteers, instructional video makers to keep kids active at home, virtual advocates for the American Heart Association to support those impacted by economic disruption, and virtual food donation participants.
Another popular volunteer search tool is Catchafire, which always offers strictly online volunteer opportunities for business professionals and now provides information about nonprofits directly impacted by COVID-19. These organizations are in need of strategic advice for navigating their businesses during this public health emergency – like re-evaluating marketing strategy, tapping into the Work Share program with the unemployment commission, conducting community needs assessments, and learning how to use online resources for transitioning business to a virtual world.
Our friends at Create the Good provide users with an online portal for uncovering volunteer opportunities in their specific communities, now with an option to filter openings for Home/Remote opportunities as a response to the coronavirus emergency. After setting the Remote filter, search for ‘elder’, ‘quarantine’,’covid’ or ‘coronavirus’ to sign up to make social phone calls to the elderly, write notes of hope for the homeless, create cards for the isolated elderly, participate in virtual food drives, teach a virtual class of your choice to older adults, and much more.
Crisis Text Line provides a lifeline to anyone in crisis -- including those finding it difficult to deal with forced isolation, being bullied, addicted to drugs, being abused by a loved one, feeling depressed or even suicidal. Learn how to become a volunteer Crisis Counselor and become someone’s lifeline here.
Do-It’s UK-wide database contains over 1 million volunteer opportunities. Filtering for ‘Do-it from home’ on the Opportunity Search page and sorting by most recently updated will give you this list of home-based volunteer opportunities, which includes telephone helpline volunteer spots, social media helpers, and digital champions (providing phone and email support to customers needing help with digital tasks).
With Idealist, you can search for volunteer opportunities, as well as opportunities to provide loans or to donate to individuals with active fundraising campaigns for good causes, such as helping rural farmers and fishermen while teaching sustainable agricultural practices in El Salvador. Toggle on the option for ‘Virtual/Remove Only’ on the Actions Search page to see a comprehensive list of ways to help from home. If you’re interested in helping a specific community, add your city or zip code and click search.
An international nonprofit focused on creating a global culture of volunteerism, Points of Light offers an online portal to search for volunteer opportunities globally or in your specific community. On the Get Involved page, searching for ‘coronavirus’, ‘online’, ‘at home’, and ‘remote’ will give you a list of volunteer tasks you can do from home.
For you history buffs, the Smithsonian Institution – the world-renowned museum and research complex in Washington, DC – offers virtual volunteer opportunities for anyone interested in transcribing historical documents or editing Wikipedia articles related to the institution’s artifacts and research. Find out more on the institute's Digital Volunteers page.
Are you fluent in more than one language? Use your skills for humanitarian aid by translating medical texts or translating for crisis response purposes via TWB. See how you can help their coronavirus response efforts here.
An online portal for finding volunteer openings, Volunteer Match allows you to filter for virtual opportunities. And, when you search for ‘coronavirus’ on the virtual volunteer search page, you are provided with options like making homemade cards for isolated special needs adults and the elderly, sewing face masks for hospice organizations and hospitals facing shortages, managing social media pages for medical facilities to guide the public in stopping the spread of COVID-19, and more.