Moving towards virtual volunteering

Volunteering has changed dramatically over recent years. The coronavirus pandemic has played a massive role in changing the way we interact, pushing us towards the virtual world from the real world. We have now entered the era of virtual volunteering, for real. Today’s volunteering includes donating your virtual time and skills. Instead of being present to volunteer physically, many people have found their place in the world of virtual volunteering. Non-profits have adapted to the virtual world as well. With corporates adapting to work from home culture, it’s simpler to set up virtual volunteering opportunities for their employees. The virtual world of volunteering offers an easy way to make a difference, from the comfort of your couch as well as adhering to safety.

The many perks of volunteering

As a virtual volunteer, you can make a meaningful contribution to Non-profits, social enterprises, and impact initiatives around the world that need your skills, from the comfort of your home. 

  • More opportunities to volunteer for multiple causes and organizations
  • Access to international volunteering opportunities
  • Allows professionals the chance to find an opportunity that suits their availability and skill set, which gives their resumes a healthy boost 
  • Flexibility in scheduling, location, and level of involvement
  • A unique outlet for skills or passions that aren’t met by physical volunteering
  • More opportunities for disabled or very remote volunteers
  • Boosts mental health

Benefits for Non-profits

Thanks to the advent of social media, the online world has evolved a lot and new trends in volunteering have emerged. Learning more about volunteers has become easier than ever. A few clicks to the social media profile of an individual is enough to view a list of the volunteer’s key portfolio projects. Some key benefits of virtual volunteering for Non-profits are:-

  • Increased access to more qualified volunteers
  • More ways to save money on operating costs
  • Easier way to access more data for your organization
  • Professional level communications, branding, and outreach

Shifting trends in Virtual volunteering 

Previously, virtual volunteering would involve communicating over emails and waiting to hear back from volunteers. These days, social media networks have drastically changed the way of volunteering online.

Today, virtual volunteering lets organizations create private groups on social media and social media group chats to interact and engage with followers. Information and updates about upcoming events can be shared via blogs and on social media channels where volunteers can leave comments on posts about whether they are planning to be a part of it or not.

Another huge shift in virtual volunteering is how remote it has become. With the revolution in technology, volunteers feel more engaged and connected. Online groups and forums make working with volunteers easier since changes and revisions to projects can be made instantly along with feedback.

Challenges faced

  1. The very nature of online volunteering makes the volunteer experience less personal. It is difficult to socialize with other volunteers compared to traditional volunteering, as tasks are often independent. 
  2. Many of the individuals you will work with will be faceless. It will be difficult to keep yourself accountable. Virtual volunteers often leave tasks unfinished, which creates more trouble for the Non-profits.
  3. A large chunk of the population might not be able to volunteer virtually due to the lack of basic infrastructure like proper internet access, access to mobile devices, laptops, computers, etc. This will be a loss of opportunity for many individuals and the Non-profit as well.
  4. In developing countries like India, Non-profits are burdened with providing access to internet and mobile devices for carrying out online classes for the underprivileged.
  5. When volunteering online, the work you do, though important, is less likely to have such an immediate impact on people when compared to face-to-face volunteering.
  6. It’s difficult to sense a distinct mission. For example – In times of natural calamities like droughts, floods, earthquakes, etc., it is impossible to volunteer virtually. One has to be present in person. In such cases, factors such as social interaction, direct involvement with the cause, and first-hand accounts of positive impacts are crucial to help in the aftermath. 

SociallyGood is the world’s first digital marketplace for social change platform that excels in connecting volunteers to Non-profits, virtually. We at SociallyGood are working with diverse Non-profits to run virtual campaigns where individuals can contribute their time and skills with just a few clicks. One such example is our client Youth for Seva’s “Smart Class Programs”. Smart Classes via Smart Phones is all about volunteers reaching out to students from under-served communities to continue their learning pursuits. The purpose of this program is to help students to continue their learning pursuits in the face of adversity and embolden them to face challenges ahead. 

“Traditional” volunteering will always be around, but virtual volunteering has changed the way many of us give back. Virtual volunteering provides an outlet for many different skills and passions, but it also makes it easier for organizations to do good work all over the world. If you want to sign up for virtual volunteering opportunities and be part of this growing movement, then this is the right time for it. Also, corporates can make use of SociallyGood to provide opportunities for their employees to support the social causes virtually. 

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