Online Volunteering: 10 Reasons to Apply and 22 Ways To Get Involved

Remove the common challenges blocking you from volunteering when you can apply to a virtual online volunteering opportunity. Here’s where to get started.

Not everyone knows how to build a house, or is comfortable going to a food kitchen to feed the homeless. How can these individuals contribute to their community on a volunteer basis and still work within their comfortability?

The answer is online volunteering. 

Offices aren’t the only places where more people are working from home or have the freedom to be digital nomads and still make a living within their dream job. 

Online Volunteering Explained

Online volunteering involves someone’s ability to offer their time and skills through an online platform. It’s a concept that’s grown significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown in 2020. Even though the world shut down, the drive to help your neighbour continued to grow — now online. 

Organisations around the world are always looking for new virtual volunteers to help out with opportunities, work on administrative tasks and a plethora of other needs. These volunteer opportunities give you the chance to:

  • Learn new skills
  • Connect with people both locally or internationally
  • Contribute to an organisation in need
  • Feel good about giving back
  • Add valuable work experience to your resume
  • Network with people in different industries

Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteering can offer many benefits for your mental and social well-being. 

A 2022 study by PubMed Central found that four British cohorts and decades of studies have uncovered that volunteering helps reduce your sense of loneliness, and improves self-satisfaction. Study participants even realised improved physical improvements “reduced cortisol reactivity to stressors and lower cardiovascular risk; as well as increased physical activity, strength and walking speed.”

The reasons for these improvements? The social value of offering your time and skills to help a worthy cause. 

While not everyone has the time or resources to go out every weekend to pick up trash at the beach or fly to another country to build homes, online volunteering can still support these benefits.

Additionally, volunteering online can give you the chance to work on your skills without the pressure of an internship or full-time job. More organisations will gladly take whatever you have to offer, and as long as you work hard and receive feedback well, they can one day be a reference for your next job. 

Volunteering offers a win-win for both the institution and the virtual volunteer. 

Alternatively, you could spend time volunteering in a space you’ve never been before, but always wanted to learn more about. Lean into learning more about how to contribute your best to the organisation and you’re sure to expand your knowledge in a new way. 

Identifying the Right Volunteer Opportunities

As you’ll see coming up, there are many opportunities online that you can take advantage of; the trick is picking the right one. 

The beauty of volunteering, as opposed to working at a job, is that there is no reason to stick around if you’re not connecting with the organisation or people. This gives you the freedom to test out many different establishments, opportunities, and virtual volunteering shifts to find the one that you really want. 

With that said, you don’t want to waste anyone’s time in training. So explore the skills and opportunities that are available to you and look into how you wish to contribute. 

There are some policies that require a registration form, age limit, training, and skill level before you’re accepted into the program as well — this is something you should pay close attention to before applying. Many volunteer opportunities do not have restrictions, but due to local laws and the job at hand, you may be required to go through extensive training and have specific certifications. 

Finally, ensure you have the time to volunteer. Volunteer managers often will hand-pick volunteers for an opportunity, and you don’t want to waste time and resources if you’re not sure you can give it your all. 

22 Volunteer Opportunities You Can Check Out Today

Think you’re ready to volunteer online? Here are 22 volunteer opportunities to explore and apply to right away. 

Virtual volunteer opportunities for teams

Volunteering as a team can be a great way to build relationships and hold each other accountable. 

1. Prepr is a network that uses education to solve complex challenges to local and global problems. These hurdles might be related to U.N. sustainable development goals, careers, or the future of work. Corporate teams are encouraged to get involved in these difficulties by sponsoring a challenge or a workshop, donating prizes, offering mentorship, or offering job placements or internships.

2. The Trevor Project helps to support LGBTQ+ kids through life’s struggles. Getting acceptance from one adult can decrease the risk of LGBTQ+ teens from suicide by 40%. This is a fairly involved opportunity that requires you and your team to be available for a three-hour shift each week. Everyone must be 18 or older and go through training. Training offers you world-class crisis prevention training, which could be transferred to many different opportunities. 

3. Kindness Quest is a virtual team-building event aimed at spreading gratitude among groups during the holiday season. In teams, participants undertake virtual community service activities such as donating food to animal shelters, writing thank you cards, and collecting non-perishable food for food drivers.

4. Smithsonian Digital Volunteers is the world’s largest museum and needs digital volunteers to help transcribe, edit, and review a range of historical documents in the public sphere. Sign up and you could edit notes from explorers, logbooks from ships, currency proof sheets, photo albums, manuscripts, or nature specimen labels. Whether you're fascinated with botany or astronomy, you'll find plenty of meaningful science projects. While you’re there, check out their other unique Citizen Science opportunities like eMammal camera traps, fossil atmospheres and LeafSnap.

5. CricketTogether offers meaningful corporate volunteering opportunities to empower lifelong learning among children. The online mentoring program can be conducted anywhere, anytime, to fit any busy schedule with full training for mentors. Plus, the robust platform gives engagement and impact reports so you know just how much of a difference you’ve made.

Virtual volunteer opportunities for students

Are you a student or know a student who wants to buff up their resume before getting started at uni? These opportunities can help you stand out from the crowd while improving your competencies in certain areas.

6. ZSL Instant Wild can offer the opportunity to help conservation efforts by looking through camera and video images from amazing jungles and forests around the world to tag animals you see. You don’t need to have a degree in biology; you’ll get full field guides for each project so you know what to look out for! 

7. Learn To Be is a nonprofit that invites student volunteers to use their powers for good. Share your writing expertise, math skills, or passion for science through 1-1 tutoring with other students from as young as five. Working as one of the volunteer tutors, you’ll be helping improve the lives of children in vulnerable neighbourhoods across the U.S.

8. DOROT aims to combat loneliness in older adults by creating intergenerational engagement activities and phone calls. Join up and take weekly Zoom calls with adults in the U.S. who are keen to have a chat and get to know you. You never know what you might learn or who you might meet!

9. Cards for a Cause is a great one for creative students of all ages. Make a beautiful handmade card to brighten the day of a sick or injured child. You can construct as many as you want, send them in, and the organisation will distribute them as needed. 

Quick and easy virtual volunteer opportunities

Don’t have a lot of time, but want to contribute to a good cause? We’ve got the solution for you!

10. Be My Eyes connects blind and low-vision individuals with sighted volunteers for visual assistance through live video calls in their custom-built app. Volunteers may receive calls to help read food labels, navigate around a city, buy a ticket, or read instructions. Your one small service can make a big difference in someone's day. 

11. Career Village students can ask questions about careers and career paths of interest, and you can volunteer to answer them as honestly as possible. Take part whenever you have some free time and you might just inspire the next generation to follow in your footsteps.

12. Friends of the Earth asks citizens to use their voices to help protect the environment. They have simple actions such as writing to Congress, signing petitions, and emailing major producers to encourage change. Each campaign features a form with a built-in message that you can edit and send with one click. 

13. The World Hunger Education Services quiz is a no-brainer. Everyone should take five minutes and do it now! Simply read their educational material about world hunger, and they will donate $0.02-$0.10 for everyone who completes the short corresponding quiz. ​​

Virtual volunteer opportunities for multi-linguists

Know more than one language? You can offer this skill to support incredible organisations around the world!

14. Tarjimly is an app where you can be connected to refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants, and social workers who need your help with translation. They may be at a bank, on a phone call, or need help filling out a document, and you can guide them over the phone. You’ll only get requests based on your availability. 

15. TED Translate allows you to translate TED Talk speeches. If you love watching these videos, why not use your skills to make them more inclusive? You’ll work remotely and on your schedule to translate talks into different languages. 

16. Translators without Borders recruits volunteers who want to translate texts into different languages for NGOs and nonprofits.

17. Kiva is a great opportunity if you love English grammar or consider yourself a language enthusiast. You may be able to support Kiva’s mission as a Volunteer Editor for their global network of microentrepreneurs.

Virtual volunteering search engines

If you have a specific skill, limited time, or have something in mind that doesn’t fall into the above categories, these virtual volunteer search engines can help match you up with the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

18. Catch a Fire lists volunteer opportunities at a range of non-profits in need of skills. You can search through the listings that include short-term projects, ongoing projects, or one-off tasks in everything from social media to accounting all around the world.

19. Vollie is an Australian-based platform that connects skilled people to non-profits, charities, and social enterprises for skills-based online volunteering. All the projects listed are online and available to people all around the world. Simply sign up and start helping! 

20. Idealist has many volunteer tasks listed on its site that can be completed online, simply search using the virtual filter.

21. VolunteerMatch hosts a database of thousands of volunteer opportunities, so just search for virtual opportunities using the filter.

22. The United Nations online volunteering database offers a huge spectrum of diverse service opportunities for the UN all around the world.

I Just Signed Up! Now What?

Nice work on getting started! What happens now is ensuring you’re ready for the next steps. 

This will all depend on the opportunity you signed up for and how involved you have to be. Whether this is training sessions, offering availability, going through a background check, and so on. Make sure you remain on track with what is being asked of you so you can get started as soon as possible.

If you’re volunteering for hours to fulfil a requirement from school or want to submit your hours to work, you can either keep track of hours yourself or ask for proof of hours. If you want to ask, simply contact your supervisor or the volunteer coordinator if they have the paperwork available. It’s important to keep track of your hours anyway, just in case they get lost along the way.

About Rosterfy

Rosterfy is used by non-profits, charities, sporting federations, and more to better manage their volunteer programs by improving how they can recruit, screen, train and retain volunteers.

Our market leading technology helps you create engaging experience throughout the whole lifecycle of your volunteer journey.

Book a demo today.

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