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Industry CCO

Virtual Volunteering

By Michelle Campbell, Executive Administrator

What is virtual volunteering?

Virtual volunteering is a form of volunteering where the volunteer can work on projects using the internet. This is a great way for people to help-out when they do not have physical access to a volunteer location, have a disability, or there is some other situation that prevents them from leaving their home. It is also an attractive idea to many people who are able to get much more accomplished when they are working in their own environment and those who simply want to save travel time.

What are some examples of virtual volunteering?

  • Designing – websites, databases, graphics, etc.
  • Writing and Proofreading – content for websites, press releases, proposals, newsletter articles, etc.
  • Translating – content for websites, press releases, proposals, newsletter articles, (anything that was written or proofread).
  • Research – subjects, databases, funding, sponsorships, etc.
  • Social Media – creating online forums, writing e-mails, creating podcasts, editing a video, monitoring the news, tagging photos and files, moderating online discussion groups, managing other online volunteers, etc.
  • Counseling – legal, business, medical, trade, or any other area in which you have expertise.

How do you become involved in virtual volunteering?

When you start your search, it is a good idea to look for organizations that are already doing something that interests you or are already providing skills that you possess, and ideally, are involved in causes that you personally believe in. Then, contact the organization and ask them what opportunities they have available. Please note that the term “virtual volunteering” is relatively new and may not be used by all of the organizations you contact. You can also use terms such “online volunteering” or “cyber service”, or simply ask what projects can be done remotely from a computer. Finally, make sure you have the resources available to complete projects from home (a computer with internet access, for example), have time available to commit, and understand what is expected of a particular assignment.

Drexel University, in Philadelphia PA, offers links to a variety of virtual volunteering opportunities that can be found at http://www.drexel.edu/oca/cs/ideas.asp#virtual. Another website where you can go to be matched-up with volunteer opportunities is www.VolunteerMatch.org where you can narrow your search by clicking on a box on the home page to search specifically for virtual opportunities.