A Guide To Online Volunteering [+ how it can positively impact your Career]

A guide to online volunteering (+ online opportunities you can do from home)

20 July 2022

Thanks to the increase in accessible in technology, volunteering online is on the rise – and it’s redefining how we can give back 

According to Google Trends, people using phrases such as ‘virtual volunteering’ increased by 950% in the last five years, and ‘online volunteering’ has seen a 180% increase. 

Whilst virtual volunteering is a relatively new concept, it’s becoming a popular way for people to donate their time and skills to causes close to them, without leaving the comfort of their own home. Where time and travel commitments used to be a barrier to volunteers there’s now a whole new world of social-good-opportunity at your fingertips. 

Here’s everything you need to know about virtual volunteering.

What is online volunteering? 

Referred to as e-volunteering or virtual volunteering, online volunteering simply refers to any volunteer activities that take place using the internet. The activity doesn’t have to be completely online – only part of it has to take place for it to be considered virtual. 

The benefits of virtual volunteering

From strengthening soft skills to building confidence and meeting new people, volunteering comes with many benefits, including: 

Gaining international, real-world work experience

When volunteering virtually, you’re not limited by what’s on your doorstep. You can be more choosy with what cause you want to volunteer for. When you volunteer online, you’ll get exposure to different cultures and heritages because you have the opportunity to connect with trusts and charities all over the world.

This will help you develop your cross cultural skills, develop your cross-cultural understanding and broaden your perspective  – and what’s better than meeting people you wouldn’t have otherwise?. 

A sustainable and efficient way to give back 

In most instances, online volunteering can be done in the comfort of your own home (you might not even need to change out of your pyjamas). You can break down your tasks into smaller chunks that are easier to tackle: 20 minutes on the bus, 20 on your lunch hour – small and sustainable is the best way to make volunteering a habit. 

You won’t need to commute, making it much easier to fit into your schedule. 

And because you don’t have to commute, you’ll be saving money on petrol or public transport. If you drive, it means there’s less cars on the road which is really beneficial to the environment.

It looks great on your CV 

Online volunteering is a great way to highlight your philanthropic side, whilst demonstrating any digital skills you have. 

If you want to take the next step in your career, or you’re looking for a job and you don’t have enough experience on your CV, remote volunteering can help you gain this. Volunteering is a great way to help you get hands-on industry experience or widen your net of professional contacts. 

Learn new skills in a low-pressure environment

Virtual volunteering is a great way to learn new skills and strengthen existing ones without having to spend time or money taking a course. 

You’ll get the opportunity to explore new sectors and industries that you may not be familiar with, without the pressure of passing an exam or being interviewed. Here’s just some of the things you could be doing: 

  • Web design and development 
  • Research
  • Social media management
  • Content writing
  • Media relations
  • Fundraising 
  • Human Resources and so much more 

What are the different types of online volunteering roles? 

There are thousands of opportunities available online – some of them short term and some long term. Here are some potential volunteering roles you should consider:

  • Mental health volunteering
  • NHS Volunteering
  • Translation and teaching services 
  • Content writing and creating 
  • Helping to make the online world more accessible
  • Graphic Design
  • Cartography
  • Software development 
  • Research
  • Transcribing historical documents 
  • Crisis management and more 
  • Flag flyer
  • Mentoring
  • Befriending
  • Professional services advice – HR, finance, legal 

What to look for when volunteering online 

If you’re looking for a remote volunteering opportunity, then have a chat with Social Good Connect. We’ll get to know you, and match you with some charities and trusts that align with your values. 

If you’re still not sure on what you want to do, then a quick Google search can help you understand exactly what’s out there.  

How to stay safe when volunteering online 

If you’re searching for volunteering opportunities online, it’s important to protect yourself from any potential fraud or scams. 

Choosing to work with social enterprise, Social Good Connect is a great way to avoid any online scams. 

If you’re looking at remote opportunities online, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Have you been contacted out of the blue? 
  • Have you been asked to share personal information before you’ve had confirmation of who you’re talking to? 
  • Are the contact details of the person or business vague?
  • Are you being asked to submit any card or bank details? 
  • Are you being pressured to make a decision? 
  • Are there spelling mistakes on written communications? 

 If  the answer is yes, it’s likely it is a scam. 

Unfortunately, some ‘volunteering roles’ are really unpaid work in disguise, and there is a difference. 

Volunteering remotely is a great thing to do, but it is important to look after yourself. Did you know, in 2021, Millennials (59%), Gen Z (58%), and Gen X (54%) shared similar burnout rates? (Thrive My Way). Signs of burnout include: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of passion and drive 
  • Emotional exhaustion 
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much 

 If you start to feel symptoms of stress or burn out, then take a step back, have some time off and volunteer again when you feel better. 

Virtual volunteering vs in person 

Volunteering in person is a great thing to do, and there are many benefits. However, if you’re not able to get out and about with ease, remote volunteering may be better suited. 

Tips for remote volunteering

  • Connect with nonprofits that share the same values and morals as you
  • Think about which issues are important to you 
  • Think about the skills you have to offer 
  • Search for online opportunities that align with your goals
  • Think about what you’d like to learn
  • Don’t over-commit or over-promise 

Volunteer opportunities through Social Good Connect

At Social Good Connect, we help organisations offer volunteering as part of their corporate social responsibility strategy in a manageable way

As well as helping businesses to develop their strategy, work towards the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals,  we also connect their employees to their ideal volunteer opportunities through our search and match platform.

We’re so pleased to work with a wide range of charities so we can offer a variety of in-person and virtual volunteer opportunities.

Keen to get involved? Let your employer know about Social Good Connect or get in touch if you would like to learn more!

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