Stay-at-home orders intended for a few weeks have turned into the norm for the unforeseeable future. Personal lives and careers are upended. But, one of the best ways to get focused during a crisis is to help others. So, let’s look at how virtual volunteering can make a difference.
Volunteering Benefits the Employed
Volunteering makes a difference for the employed. Select an engaging outlet outside of work to help deal with today’s pressures. Volunteering can also help you explore a potential career transition. Build a skill set and experience a different work culture virtually.
In addition, a rewarding volunteer experience can be parlayed into a side business or a retirement job. I started writing resumes years ago by volunteering as a resume writer at local charities. It is now my passion that I can do virtually!
Volunteering Benefits the Job Seekers
Volunteering makes a difference for the job seeker. It expands social connections and networking opportunities even when done virtually. As a job search trainer and career coach, I encourage volunteering as a way to update and obtain skills. Virtual volunteering helps keep resumes current and eliminates work history gaps. Ensure your resume contains relevant keywords for potential employers by illustrating how you use in-demand skills as a virtual volunteer. In addition, approach nonprofits to suggest ways they can use your advanced skills virtually to make a difference for their clients.
Volunteering makes a difference because it works. I was selected for an interview at an agency years ago because of it. My instruction at a faith-based community computer lab indicated I could do more with less. Another colleague obtained a senior training job with local government after volunteering at a professional association. And, a former client translated her volunteer experience to local advocacy jobs, a Congressional internship and eventually a dream job in management consulting. Teaching, setting up virtual events, and advocating for important causes all can be done through virtual volunteering.
Ten Ways to Virtual Volunteer
Right now a lot of charities are in critical need of virtual volunteers. So, here are 10 ways to make a difference through virtual volunteering.
- VolunteerMatch: https://www.volunteermatch.org/virtual-volunteering
This was one of the first organizations I contacted years ago. I like the vast amount of volunteer opportunities on the site, over one million. Filter searches by cause areas, skills and distance.
- Points of Light: https://www.pointsoflight.org/virtual-volunteering-opportunities/
This is a global community with tens of thousands of international countries, states, local communities and corporate partners.
- Idealist: https://www.idealist.org/en/
This website contains listings for volunteer opportunities, internships, organizations and graduate schools. It also lists mutual aid groups to support one another and share resources in this time of crisis.
- Corporation for National or Community Service: https://www.nationalservice.gov/serve
This website hosts Americorps and is known for its effort to recruit and train teachers. It also supports Senior Corps and contains links for other opportunities to serve in your community.
- All for Good: https://www.allforgood.org/
This website is affiliated with Points of Light and other well-known nonprofits. It has links to volunteer opportunities. Start a community project and invite friends and neighbors to join in.
- Hire Our Heroes: https://www.hireheroesusa.org/volunteer/
This website is not only for veterans who are seeking jobs. HOH is also looking for volunteers with skills in a variety of industries and with experience in specific companies to assist veterans.
- Catchafire: https://www.catchafire.org/volunteer/
Best new website discovery! I love how this website gives volunteers the ability to volunteer for projects requiring specific skills for a desired period of time.
- Smithsonian Institution: https://transcription.si.edu/
I love history! And, since 2013 over 25,000 Digital Volunteers have assisted in the collaborative review and transcription of field notes, diaries, ledgers, logbooks, currency proof sheets, photo albums, manuscripts and biodiversity specimens labels.
- United Nations (UN) Volunteers: https://www.onlinevolunteering.org/en
This website is a great way to get experience in international government relations. Select task, hours per week, languages, regions supported and keywords to browse virtual volunteer opportunities.
- Career Village: https://www.careervillage.org/join/for-professionals/
This innovative website is involved in “democratizing access to career advice for underrepresented youth.” Mentor students by answering career questions. And share the questions with your network.
Adelle J. Dantzler, M.S. Ed., has advanced from a GS-3 student worker to a GS-15 Human Resources Specialist in the federal government. She has used her master’s experience in instructional design to create innovative, customized virtual and instructor-led courses and curriculums at the high potential, team leader, GS-15, and senior executive levels at four federal agencies. As a Federal Job Search Trainer/Career Coach, she has successfully coached hundreds on the job search and facilitated career management, leadership and team-building with her certifications as a MBTI® & FIRO-B® Practitioner, Crucial Conversations and InsideOut Coaching Presenter, and EQ-i2.0 and CCL 360 coach.