Online Volunteering: What are the Benefits for Employees?

September 14, 20201:57 pm1511 views
Online Volunteering: What are the Benefits for Employees?
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Offering a variety of volunteer opportunities is one way to ensure that employees find at least one thing in which they’d feel comfortable participating. However, as the pandemic might limit some options due to social distancing and lockdown measures, now volunteering is going virtual. 

What is virtual volunteering? 

Virtual volunteering, also known as online volunteering, refers to volunteer activities using an online system or network accessed through a computer, mobile device, laptop, etc. in order to undertake or deliver projects. Online volunteering might be related to non-technology-based tasks, but it will harness information and communication technology and the Internet to deliver outputs. Meanwhile, virtual volunteers can complete short-term or long-term tasks, in whole or in part, typically off-site from the organisation of the person being assisted. As long as your employees have got access to a computer, thousands of different volunteer projects and roles are available to them. 

See also: Step-by-Step to Create Employee Volunteer Program

Examples of tasks and projects areas undertake by online volunteers include but not limited to:

  • Translation
  • Training
  • Mentoring 
  • Editing documents 
  • Fundraising 
  • Designing research studies
  • Researching and developing curricula
  • Providing technical support for online activities
  • Providing medical, legal, project-management or other specialised skills sharing and advice

Why should employers encourage virtual volunteering?  

The same as volunteering in general, online volunteering can instill motivation, happiness, and satisfaction in employee’s days. The only difference is that online volunteering allows greater numbers of people to participate in volunteering programmes and to contribute to international development. For volunteers, it allows for the completion of tasks and assignments off-site, without travel, and enables volunteering activities to slot into the work, study or family schedule of the volunteer. It also provides the possibility of skills and knowledge exchanges in regions or areas where, for various reasons, it is not possible to send volunteers or travel is restricted. It also enables volunteers who cannot travel or even possibly leave their homes, to participate in international volunteering projects. For returning on-site volunteers, online volunteering provides a route for continuous engagement, contact and ongoing support with their host communities, thereby adding value to their placement.

Where to begin?  

Here are some robust resources of online volunteering programs your organisation can collaborate with: 

  • OpenStreetMap – a free editable map of the whole world. It is made by online volunteers. Anyone can contribute to its geographical database. 
  • American Red Cross – volunteers can help generate donations to the Red Cross while shopping for themselves online or by setting up online fundraisers. 
  • Humanity Road – volunteers can use the Internet and mobile communications technology to collect, verify and route information online during a disaster to provide information as well as directing the public to governmental and aid agencies that are providing assistance for disaster. 
  • Grow Movement – online community where recruiting online volunteer business consultants from around the world to work via Skype, phone, or email to empower African entrepreneurs in Uganda, Rwanda, and Malawi. 
  • Mozilla – Mozilla involves hundreds of online volunteers to contribute as an online volunteer. No, you don’t need to be fluent in C++ language to join. 
  • OpenMRS – a community aims at building the world’s largest and most flexible technology platform to support the delivery of health care in some of the most challenging environments on the planet. 
  • Translators Without Borders – volunteers help translate texts into different languages for NGOs and nonprofits. 
  • VolunteerMatch – a search engine tool that has databases of thousands of volunteer opportunities for those who want to do online volunteering. 
  • Idealist – many volunteer tasks listed on its site that can be completed online. 

Read also: Volunteering for Social Work is Company’s Best Value 

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