online volunteer virtual volunteering

Virtual volunteer work is transforming the humanitarian world by using technology to bridge gaps

You aways wanted to some volunteer work but your life and office restrictions never allowed you to? Just become a virtual volunteer.

Even if you are already a nomad, so traveling is not an issue, but you cannot leave your work for days at a time, consider online volunteering by a way to give back while keeping your business. 

Any skill you already have at your work or business can be useful for humanitarian institutions, from coding, design, funnel creation, mailing list, you name it. 

There are many resources to look for opportunities so we’ll share our recommendations further down.

Virtual voluntureeing is not new, we can track it back to the 70's, with the famous poject gutenberg that started in one ARPNET 15 computers. Some years later ARPNET would become Internet as we know it.

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The digital revolution as made possible to globalise volunteer work. It become accessible to all digital professionals and it created this new concept of Digital Volunteer.

By definition from Wikipedia (an organisation largely supported by digital volunteers) :

” refers to volunteer activities completed, in whole or in part, using the Internet and a home, school, telecenter, or work computer or other Internet-connected device, such as a smart-phone (a cell phone with Internet functions) or personal digital assistant (PDA).Virtual volunteering is also known as online volunteeringremote volunteering or e-volunteering.”

The digital revolution has made volunteering more accessible — wherever and whenever. … The organizations that are thriving are the ones who are utilizing digitalnew digital volunteer opportunities and who make it easy to find their volunteeropportunities online

Volunteer work is vast, you can virtually (pun intended) do everything you do online for an institution that needs it. 

Using United Nations as reference for the most demanded areas:

  • Art and design
  • Community organizing
  • Leadership and strategy
  • Outreach and advocacy
  • Project development and management
  • Research
  • Teaching and training
  • Technology and development
  • Translation
  • Writing and editing

We’ll show the best resources for looking for volunteer opportunities to properly use your time and will to help. 

But basically it will not be very far away from job applications, without all the stress markers that categorise normal job interviews. 

Although the normal volunteer placements from United Nations include monthly allowances, that does not normally apply for online positions.

But once you are in the system, meaning you have volunteered for UN you have easier access to many other opportunities. 

I you still want to volunteer but need to have a source of online income check our article about the best job for it

The majority of online volunteer work is not for IT experts, although there are thousands of options or more IT specialised skills. 

But you can use Random Hacks of Kindness to look for more IT focused work

Benefits of virtual volunteering

Pajama Volunteer – There are many ways of approaching the benefits of vi online volunteer work, but for me the main one is that you can give back to our society without even leaving your home. You can literally be a pajama volunteer. 

Work Experience – That’s the altruist benefit, but then we have the more pragmatic one, you are getting work experience. Imagine that you have some social marketing skills but want to improve while doing your unrelated main work or business. 

Personal development – Virtually or not you will be dealing with a complete different reality that you are used to, you will be exposed to different cultures and different approaches to problems. It will not be as intense as in loco, but it will happen nevertheless. Something like travelling without leaving home. 

Do your homework before comiting to any project

Research the organisation in detail – unfortunately there are many scams in the volunteer industry so you need to avoid that. Check for references or consumer reports of the nonprofit world.

Detail how the work will be performed and tracked – it may sound unreasonable to talk about this with volunteer work, but remember: it’s still work even if unpaid. And if you are doing it you may be taking the opportunity for someone else to do it. So to keep the right expetactions from both ends go in detail as if a paid job was in consideration

Be sure you have the right skills – if you follow the 4 questions we refer in our main volunteer work article you will find one that says: would you do this kind of work at your own company or country? Don’t think that volunteer work is unskilled because it is not, be sure you are helping out, not wasting time and lives

 

Find online volunteering opportunities

  • UN Online Volunteers

    The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. Online volunteering allows organizations and volunteers to team up to address sustainable development challenges – anywhere in the world, from any device. Online volunteering is fast, easy – and most of all, effective. When skilled, passionate individuals join forces online with great organizations working toward sustainable development goals, everyone wins

  • Cyber Volunteers

    ICVolunteers works with organizers to help plan, host, interpret and report on non-profit conferences. It is also involved in longterm social programs and offers a number of internships in translation, editing and communications.

  • Idealist

    One of the biggest online databases for volunteer work that allows you to search specifically for online opportunities

  • Do it for Good

    Another of the biggest online databases for volunteer work that allows you to search specifically for online opportunities

  • Create Good

    This website is mainly focused on US opportunities but it does allow you to search only or online options

  • Volunteer Match

    VolunteerMatch is the most effective way to recruit highly qualified volunteers for your nonprofit. We match you with people who are passionate about and committed to your cause, and who can help when and where you need them. And because volunteers are often donors as well, we make it easy for them to contribute their time and money

  • Random Hacks of Kindness

    To create a self-sustaining global community of innovators building practical open technology for a better world, and to ensure their work creates impact in society

  • Zooniverse

    Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for research powered by volunteers. The main ways of volunteering with Zooniverse are helping with classifications on data, being a beta tester on projects they are yet to launch, and being a moderator for a project.

  • Missing Maps

    ach year, disasters around the world kill nearly 100,000 and affect or displace 200 million people. Many of the places where these disasters occur are literally 'missing' from any map and first responders lack the information to make valuable decisions regarding relief efforts. Missing Maps is an open, collaborative project in which you can help to map areas where humanitarian organisations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable people.

Want to learn more about our volunteer and working experiences? Check our working nomads page

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