Virtual Volunteering: How To Volunteer Online

Rosterfy takes a closer look at virtual volunteering including the types of opportunities and where to find them.

Are you interested in volunteering, but struggle to attend in-person volunteer jobs? Perhaps you don’t have access to a car, live in a rural location, care for someone at home, or simply can’t commit to a regular time slot?

Virtual volunteering (or online volunteering) is a great way to get involved and experience helpers high from the comfort of your own home. In most cases, all you need is a computer, an internet connection and a whole lot of passion. 

Virtual volunteering really exploded at the start of the pandemic, as organisations and volunteers themselves realised the many benefits this format can bring. So even as we emerge from the pandemic, we expect virtual volunteering opportunities to continue to be extremely popular.

So let’s take a look at how to volunteer online, the types of virtual volunteering opportunities, and how to adapt to volunteering online. 


Why is virtual volunteering important?

While virtual volunteering opportunities were around pre-pandemic, as the pandemic unfolded and people were forced into lockdown, virtual volunteering became the most direct way for people to continue to help. In fact, as the pandemic spread and communities suffered, an unprecedented number of people signed up to help however they could. Without online volunteering opportunities, many people and organisations that rely on volunteers wouldn’t have been able to continue to deliver the important services they do. 

Many organisations rely on their virtual volunteers to help out with important tasks such as phone counselling, translating, graphic design, admin, legal work and teaching. Hiring virtual volunteers to do these roles enables organisations to expand their talent pool, reduce the need for additional office space, as well as save money on services such as phones and internet.

Online volunteering for students is great if they only have a few hours to spare each week in between their studies. Students can pick up vital on-the-job training, and another reason students should volunteer is that it will impress future employees. 


Virtual volunteering examples

Virtual volunteering opportunities are available in almost every niche, so regardless of your skills, availability and passions, you’ll find something suitable. These are some of the more popular virtual volunteering examples:


1. Phone and online volunteer counselling

If you’re a good listener, compassionate and resilient, consider staffing a crisis hotline. You may be answering calls from help seekers, people with mental health problems, loneliness, homelessness or family issues, so you would need access to a quiet, private place to talk.

Example: Lifeline phone counselling


2. Translating and editing

There are many groups that operate worldwide that need help translating documents, web pages and media into multiple languages. So if you have language skills, they could be put to good use translating and editing. You may also be able to offer language training or simple conversations with language learners. 

Example: Translation volunteer with Kiva


3. Graphic and web design digital volunteer

Every organisation these days has a website, but many of them are in need of maintenance. Organisations are desperate for tech-savvy designers to help with tasks such as designing brochures and posters, posting social media updates and updating websites. These tasks are normally ad-hoc, so they might be good for online volunteers who don’t want to complete regular shifts. 

Example: FCancer project


5. Admin online volunteers

Completing admin tasks for time-poor non profits is another valuable volunteer opportunity, where you could help out by answering enquiries, organising donations, sending out email newsletters or updating volunteer portals.

Example: Amnesty Decoders enlists online volunteers to help researchers sift through pictures, information and documents.


7. Legal work

If you have a background in law, your services are highly in-demand at organisations that work with clients with limited means to ensure they get good legal representation. For this virtual opportunity, all you need is a good internet connection and computer with a video camera, and you’ll meet virtually to discuss client cases.

Example: ProBono project virtual lawyers


9. Teaching and mentoring virtually

Qualified teachers or volunteers with expertise in certain skills such as languages, crafts, technology or writing can run virtual lessons for people all over the world.

Example: Little Dreamers online tutor


10. Healthcare

If you are passionate about helping people, you’ll be pleased to know there are even virtual volunteering opportunities in healthcare. From assisting with support for pregnant women, through to disability support work, the opportunities are endless.

Example: Be My Eyes is an app that allows blind and low-vision individuals to call sighted people to assist them with daily tasks.


How do I volunteer virtually?

Thanks to COVID-19, the internet has become more useful than ever for both volunteers and volunteer organizations. Many organisations now use reliable volunteer management software such as Rosterfy to automate all the hiring, onboarding, training, rostering and recognition. This makes it easy to keep volunteers organized, especially when dealing with virtual volunteers who might live in different locations across the world, and who you may never meet face-to-face.

To get started volunteering virtually, you will need a basic level of tech proficiency, and a stable internet connection and phone. Apart from that, the qualities that make a good volunteer are the same virtually as in-person. You should be passionate, reliable, trustworthy, friendly, compassionate and a team player. In return, read about the 15 skills you can gain from volunteering.

Your organisation may require you to undergo a background check and working with children's check, as well as complete some basic training and onboarding before you can begin.



Ready to sign up? Search for your perfect virtual volunteering role on these sites:

  • United Nations online volunteering database for a host of diverse service opportunities.
  • Vollie lists exclusively virtual volunteering opportunities
  • Catchafire lists global online volunteer opportunities
  • Volunteer.com.au lists virtual volunteer opportunities in Australia. Simply filter by selecting ‘online or remote’ in the ‘Where’ box.
  • Browse thousands of opportunities on GoVolunteer
  • If there is a certain non profit or organisation you are interested in volunteering virtually with, simply get in touch and find out what they need help with.

Want to find out about further volunteer opportunities? Read about the 12 different types of volunteering work you can try.

Without face-to-face contact, implementing a volunteer management system is essential to ensure virtual volunteers and the organisation get the most out of the experience. 

Rosterfy exists to connect volunteers to events and causes they're passionate about through our end-to-end volunteer management solution.  

If you’d like to learn more about how Rosterfy can help you recruit and manage volunteers with ease, why not book a demo of our product today?

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