Learn about being a virtual volunteer
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Why volunteer virtually?
Let's talk about the why, how and what of virtual volunteering
What defines a virtual volunteer?
Virtual volunteering encompasses any instance of you helping an organization from a distance using technology, such as a laptop or mobile phone.
How can you be a remote volunteer or a virtual volunteer?
This depends on the organization who is sponsoring this remote volunteer opportunity. In many instances, if the goal or task can be done remotely and achieves a positive outcome for the organization, this is a remote volunteer opportunity. e.g., if there is a shortage of N-95 face masks, and you had a sewing machine and additional cloths, you could help an organization remotely by sewing up and making facemasks. If you chose to mentor or tutor a k-12 student through an online conferencing/webinar system, this will be virtual volunteering. For virtual/remote projects and opportunities you can go to our Get Involved Page. Be it a virtual opportunity, an emergency related taskforce or an opportunity to apply your skills pro bono, opportunities are available through this search. For opportunities that you can't find, please contact us via our Support Portal. For administrators of nonprofits, please list your opportunity here
Why would you want to be a virtual volunteer?
In the case of a pandemic like COVID-19, policies encouraging shelter in place can make it difficult to volunteer and participate in activities that normally require face to face contact. In these situations, providing and participating in opportunities to complete tasks remotely is of the utmost importance to helping continue the critical operations of a nonprofit. Tasks that can be completed virtually can be done from the comfort of the home and on the go.
How to be successful as a virtual, remote or pro bono volunteer?
Virtual volunteering allows you to commit your time and services away from the physical site of an organization, project, or campaign. Some refer to virtual volunteers as E-Volunteers, Cyber Volunteers, Digital Volunteers etc., The defining feature key of virtual volunteers is that they work over via computer, tablet or phone to provide their time and skills to support a cause that is important to them.
In order to successfully volunteer virtually, we recommend having a computer, laptop, tablet or phone available. The more technology you have, the easier it will be to communicate, set expectations and provide updates. There are technology tool options to help faciliate communication (email and phone), online chat (Google Chat, Slack, Messenger, Whatsapp, etc.), and project or task management (Google Docs, Google Sheets, Asana, Todoist, Trello etc.,) to ensure a successful outcome.
In many instances, we recommend a strong internet connection to simplify communication between you and the organization overseeing the project or activity. A strong internet connection allows you to dial-in, Facetime, or join a webinar (through online conferencing tool like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex, Hangouts, etc.) all online.
Email & Phone Number
There are many email servicees like (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and more) that are free and available to use. There are also phone numbers and online services you can utilize in order to text and call without having to provide your own personal phone number. Having an email and phone number will help facilitate better communication between you and the volunteer coordinator while working virtual and remotely.
Ideas for being a virtual volunteer
There are many projects, activities and tasks that can be meaningful and extremely impactful for organizations.
Projects can vary from small to large and span hours, days, weeks or months. Many well-coordinated projects have clear expectations, milestones, objectives and anticipated outcomes. In many instances, a well-coordinated project can be broken down into smaller projects to be dissemminated to multiple people and completed in parallel. Depending on the available technology, skillsets and individuals supporting the project, it could require multiple planning conversations before the work is started.
Skill Based (Pro Bono)
Pro bono work can vary from requiring industry experience to providing opportunities for individuals to grow and improve on a learned skill. For example, if your day job is as a Certified Public Accountant, you can help an organization or an organization's vulnerable clients to do their taxes Pro bono. Leveraging one's industry and professional experience can impact an organization financially and put them on a more solid footing. On the other hand, if you are a lawyer who wants to test your web development skills rather than donate your law skills, finding an organization who is willing to work with you to develop a website can be a great growth opportunity for you.
Tasks & Activities
In many instances, investing time to address small tasks & activities that are part of a project or overarching program can help an organization fill critical episodic and temporal roles. Depending on the task, it can be identified as a smaller scale project or considered a one-and-done relationship. For example, projects revolving around web development can include tasks like updating website content for one or many pages. The large project can be a new website.
Search for remote, virtual, or pro bono projects and opportunities on GivePulse
We provide a clearinghouse of virtual and remote opportunities for individuals and groups to find project-based opportunities, activities and tasks. Users are able to search, sort and filter through the various opportunities.
You can navigate to the Get Involved search page, which allows you to input search criteria in order to narrow the opportunities that populate. From the GivePulse search page, you can filter by Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), causes, skills and other criteria to refine the search.
On the Get Involved search page, you can filter by emergencies, causes, skills, SDGs, availability, timeframes, and more. Administrators can also add metadata, provide further description and context, and improve search keywords.
For a general search, you can go here. For opportunities related to COVID-19 response you can navigate to COVID-19 Search. For emergencies, you can go to Emergencies. For virtual/remote projects and opportunities you can go to Virtual Search. Be it a virtual opportunity, an emergency related taskforce or an opportunity to apply your skills pro bono, opportunities are available through this search. For opportunities that you can't find, please contact us via our https://support.givepulse.com. For administrators of nonprofits, please list your opportunity here
It's imperative that all volunteers, donors and individuals who anticipate interacting with others either physically distance themselves or ensure that they are healthy, capable and willing. Individuals who meet these health requirements can get involved now here.
Wash Hands and Be Clean
The CDC recommends that you wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, particularly after sneezing or coughing, when caring for the sick, before, after, and during food preparation, before eating, after use of toilets, when hands are visibly dirty, and after handling animals. Washing hands often and thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) will help to prevent the spread of the virus, both to yourself and others. Avoid touching your face. If you cannot wash your hands, frequently use an alcohol-based hand rub/sanitizer.
Cover Coughs and Sneezes
Always cover your coughs and sneezes with your inner elbow or a tissue (if into a tissue, please dispose immediately and wash your hands). Droplets can spread the virus; good respiratory hygiene helps to protect those around you from the potential spread of the virus. This is particularly true given that droplets can remain on surfaces long after you have left, leaving all those who come into contact vulnerable.
Physical (also known as Social) Distancing
Maintaining six feet of physical distance can prevent the spread of virus, as this is how far droplets travel after a cough or a sneeze. Physical distance can protect you and those around you alike. Note: while this has been referred to as social distancing, increasingly the term physical distancing is being preferred, as social connection is of particular importance at this time.
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