Virtual volunteering is a new and innovative way in which you can volunteer your skills and time without having to leave your own home. It’s an ideal way for people who would otherwise not be able to get involved in volunteering due to mobility problems, work commitments or other issues or responsibilities to play a full and active role in offering your time and skills as long as you have access to a computer and the internet. It also means that you can often carry out your duties from your own home and at a time that suits you best.
The BenefitsApart from those stated above, other benefits of virtual volunteering include the possibility of being involved in a variety of capacities and for different organisations at the same time and you’ll not have to commute to the organisations’ offices either. It will also allow you to build up new skills and experience at a time that suits you which may be very beneficial if you are looking to improve your CV.
The Variety of Voluntary Roles That Can be Done ‘Virtually’
- Database Management and Design – designing a specific database for an organisation and making sure that all the information contained within it is correct and kept up to date
- Proofreading – Making sure that all documents, newsletters, publicity and PDF versions of brochures are written in the correct format with proper use of grammar and accurate spellings
- Information gathering – Using the internet to research ideas that might be used in publicity material, collating minutes of meetings or to provide information by e-mail to members of the public who request more details about a specific project or programme of events
- Fundraising – Developing ideas and a marketing programme to generate more funding for a particular fundraising campaign or project
- Questionnaires – Devising questionnaires and surveys to be used to gather feedback on what an organisation is doing right and how it could be improved and, perhaps, conducting the survey over the phone in a market research exercise to a specifically targeted list of names
- Podcasting – Interviewing people over the phone who have an interest in the organisation and recording the outcome (with their permission) and uploading that as a podcast to be used as an additional source of information on the organisation’s website
- Media monitoring – Searching a news clippings service for recent news stories about the organisation and e-mailing them to the organisation’s corporate communications department
- Designing publicity materials – using graphic design skills to design leaflets, posters and other printed materials which are uniform and are eye-catching as well as branding, such as creating a specific logo for a project.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and, simultaneously, not all organisations will feel comfortable about outsourcing work of this kind because of data protection issues. However, a website called ‘The Site.org’ has a useful list of job opportunities for those looking to find voluntary work which can be done virtually. CSV also is a good place to find out more about ways you can help in this way. Alternatively, if any of these ideas inspire you or you may even have some ideas of your own, why not contact the organisations that appeal to you directly and see if there is any scope for using your skills in this way.