By Patrick Baker ~
Many people want to help their communities through volunteering, but how can you volunteer if you have time constraints, mobility issues, or lingering pandemic safety concerns? Fortunately, there are numerous options available for volunteering virtually. Let’s examine some of the choices available.
VolunteerMatch (https://www.volunteermatch.org/virtual-volunteering), founded in 1998, is a nonprofit organization serving volunteers and other nonprofits. They connect volunteers with nonprofit partner organizations that have community service opportunities, both local and virtual. VolunteerMatch has many virtual volunteering opportunities in numerous categories, such as health and well-being, technology, education, senior care, and more.
United Nations Volunteers
United Nations Volunteers (UNV – https://www.onlinevolunteering.org/) has many virtual volunteering opportunities. UNV identifies volunteer roles based on skills, including art and design, writing and editing, translation, teaching and training, technology development, community organizing, and more. UNV also allows organizations to register and post volunteering opportunities.
Create the Good
AARP’s Create the Good (https://createthegood.aarp.org/volunteer-search/) program pairs older adults with volunteering opportunities, enabling seniors to share their life experiences, skills, and passions with people in their local community and beyond. Individuals and organizations can also post volunteer opportunities. Volunteer opportunities posted on Create the Good are also shared with All for Good, expanding their reach.
Smithsonian Digital Volunteers
Smithsonian Digital Volunteers (https://www.si.edu/volunteer/DigitalVolunteers) enables supporters to expand access to the museum’s vast collections and participate in one of their numerous research programs. Volunteering opportunities include transcribing historical documents and scientific field notes or helping document life forms in the Encyclopedia of Life.
Catchafire (https://www.catchafire.org/) pairs skilled volunteers with nonprofits to support their missions. Volunteers can review available projects by cause, skills needed, and time commitment required. Then they can submit a two-question application and attend an interview (if needed). Both the volunteer and the organization must agree they’re a good match for work to begin. You can select a project based on cause or engagement type. Causes include things like animals, diversity and inclusion, or science and technology. Potential engagements require skills or disciplines like coaching, fundraising, digital marketing, and writing.
ZSL Instant Wild
ZSL Instant Wild (https://instantwild.zsl.org/) feeds live images and videos of wild animals to your computer screen for volunteers to identify and tag. This effort helps in animal conservation initiatives. No previous experience is required. ZSL Instant Wild provides field guides to assist with identifying and tagging.
Amnesty Decoders (https://decoders.amnesty.org/), part of Amnesty International, is a volunteer network using digital technology to help research global human rights violations. Volunteers use computers and mobile devices to help verify incidents like oil spills or drone strikes and flag abusive social media posts targeting vulnerable populations.
As you can see, there are numerous opportunities for volunteering virtually. You may also find virtual volunteer opportunities through local community service organizations. Virtual volunteering is one way you can give something back to your community from the comfort and safety of your home.
Do you volunteer virtually? Website readers can leave a comment. Online and print readers can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patrick Baker is an IT consultant and the founder of Prime of Life Tech. To learn more about his services, visit primeoflifetech.com, email email@example.com, or call (720) 319-7145.
Do you have technology questions? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Patrick will follow up with you and may use your question in a future edition of this column.