Can You Use a Computer? Try Virtual Volunteering

Can You Use a Computer? Try Virtual Volunteering

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Virtual Volunteering [n.] A term describing a volunteer activity where one completes tasks for free, in whole or in part, off-site from the organization being assisted, using the Internet and a computer or other Internet-connected device, to benefit nonprofit organization. [Wikipedia]

I wonder if any of you have heard of a term called virtual volunteering before. I certainly haven’t. We are used to hearing about remote work spaces, meaning one working at a different location other than designated office while still getting paid. However the opportunities of virtual volunteering seem to be overlooked.

Virtual Volunteering allows you to contribute time and expertise to not-for-profit organizations, schools, government offices and other agencies that utilizes volunteer services, from whenever and wherever you choose. It allows you to work during your free time from any computer that has an internet connection. Of course, you will need at least a basic understanding of how to use computers and the internet.

We are a part of a generation with virtual communication so engraved into our daily lives. If you are interested in a volunteer opportunity but have been prevented by some kind of personal commitment, take advantage of this flexible opportunity that you can invest your time & skills while building experience and expanding your network.

Examples of Virtual Volunteering

Conducting online research: finding information to use in an agency's upcoming grant proposal or newsletter, gathering information on a particular government program or legislation that could affect an agency's clients, gathering web site addresses of similarly-focused organizations, using online phone books and web sites to update contact information for a database;

Helping with advocacy: posting information to appropriate online communities (newsgroups, lists, etc.)

  • Translating a document into another language
  • Providing multimedia expertise, such as preparing a PowerPoint, Hypercard, QuickTime or other computer-based presentation
  • Designing an agency's newsletter or brochure, or copy editing an agency's publication
  • Researching and writing articles for brochures, newsletters, web sites
  • Designing a logo for an agency or program, or filling other illustration needs
  • Doing regular searches for news articles relating to an organization or a particular topic
  • Electronically visit with someone who is homebound, in a hospital or a rest home; this can be done in addition to onsite, in-person visits
  • Provide online mentoring and instruction via e-mail or private intranet (helping students with homework questions, helping someone to prepare a resume or explore career options, or help prison inmates with studies or programs)
    Help with language instruction (for instance, help people learning English)
  • Staff an e-mail or chat room answer/support line, like a phone answer/support line, where people write in questions and trained volunteers answer them; or, be part of an online support group, where members provide advice to each other via a chat room, list or newsgroup
  • Supervise or moderate an agency-sponsored chat room, e-mail discussion group or newsgroup
  • Work with other volunteers and/or clients to create a project, such as writing about the news of their neighborhood, school, special interest group, etc., or gathering history information relating to a particular time or region, to post on a web site or use in printed material

[Copyright Serviceleader.org]

Are you ready to volunteer? Check out professional associations for virtual volunteering:

Virtual Volunteering Project: www.serviceleader.org/new/index.php

Impact Online – VolunteerMatch: www.volunteermatch.org

To see websites promoting volunteerism: http://www.serviceleader.org/virtual/websites

Posted on February 29, 2012