Written by Tatiana Moorland We’re all experiencing a significant shift in lifestyle right now. We’re learning how to work remotely, entertain ourselves in close quarters, and not murder our significant others (but at least our pets are thriving!). We’ve had to give up a lot in the name of stopping the spread of coronavirus, but one thing you don’t need to give up right now is volunteering. Volunteering from home is a great way to spend some of your time during social isolation, and it’s much needed. No matter what your skillsets and passions are, there are numerous opportunities to volunteer online or from your home (or at a safe social distance). In this post, I’m going to share how you can virtually support a range of causes as well as giving back to your own community during this scary and uncertain time.
7 Virtual Volunteer Opportunities
If you’re looking to use your skills in the service of an organization, or get your organization listed online, check out these sites.
VolunteerMatch is a long-running volunteer organization that matches passion and talent with important causes. They have hundreds of virtual volunteering experiences in areas ranging from health and medicine, children and youth, education, to community building. They’ve also created a COVID-19 hub specifically for coronavirus volunteer opportunities. Learn about virtual volunteer opportunities here, and visit the COVID-19 hub here.
2. Points of Light Global Network
Points of Light Global Network organizes an annual Global Volunteer Month, which happens to be April. They connect virtual volunteers with projects across 37 countries across the globe. You can search for off-site projects that fit your schedule and skills or find do-it-yourself projects that you can do from home. Visit Points of Light Global Network’s virtual volunteering opportunities and resources here.
3. UN Online Volunteering
The UN has created an online portal of online volunteering activities, many that support women and youth. They currently have numerous COVID-19 specific virtual projects. Search for volunteer opportunities ranging from translation, art and design, writing and editing, advocacy, community organizing, technology development, and more. Search through the UN Online Volunteering site here.
4. Crisis Text Hotline
The Crisis Text Line relies on volunteer crisis counselors who work from home. Trained crisis counselors answer texts from people in crisis, through active listening, collaborative problem solving, and safety planning. The current COVID-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on mental health, with many struggling with uncertainty, panic, unemployment, and overwhelm. Now more than ever, those in crisis need support. Other crisis phone lines in your area may also be looking for support. Learn how you can become a crisis counselor from home.
5. Translators Without Borders
If you’re bilingual, this one is for you! Translators without Borders uses volunteers to translate millions of words. Volunteers are used to translating medical texts and crisis responses, both of which are much needed right now. They also depend on volunteers for other roles, like project management, graphic or web design, and fundraising. You can apply to become a virtual volunteer with Translators Without Borders through this page.
Bookshare® is an organization that makes print materials accessible to children and adults with disabilities. It counts on virtual volunteers to take on tasks like scanning and proofreading, describing images, and providing support for Bookshare® teachers and families. Learn more about volunteering with Bookshare® by visiting this site.
7. Table Wisdom
Table Wisdom connects adults and foreign-born students through weekly mentoring video chats. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has launched a Co-video Partner program that matches volunteers with someone from a different city (to include those who are not foreign-born) who has been affected by social distancing. Participants will take part in 30-minute weekly video chats that allow for meaningful conversations during this crisis. Become a Table Wisdom volunteer for an international student or an isolated person in need by visiting this site.
5 Additional Ways to Give Back to Your Community
The coronavirus has impacted every community across the world. With mass business and school closures, quarantine causing isolation, frontline workers put at risk, and public health resources becoming slim, everyone is struggling. Here are ways you can support those in need right in your hometown.
1. Check on These Individuals
Call or text your high-risk neighbors, whether they are elderly or sick. Ask if they’re okay, and in need of items like groceries, toiletries, and prescription pick-ups. To be extra cautious, drop items off at the door to keep your neighbors safe.
2. Donate These Kinds of Supplies
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are quickly running short on protective gear like masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment. If you’re stocked up on medical equipment from before or to prepare for the pandemic, or worked somewhere like a nail salon that has these kinds of supplies on hand, consider donating them to medical workers on the frontline.
3. Donate Blood
Blood donation is always needed, especially in times of crisis. With blood donation events and drives canceled due to the spread of COVID-19, the American Red Cross has a severe blood shortage. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, “You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.” If you are healthy and able to donate blood, make an appointment here, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to find a local donation site.
4. Support Organizations Near You
Nonprofits across the globe have canceled fundraising events, but are still trying to meet the increasing needs of vulnerable populations brought on by the coronavirus. Reach out to local nonprofits and churches, and see how you may be able to use your skills to support them virtually. You would be surprised by the range of talents that nonprofits can use right now. Some needed tasks may include:
Writing and editing
Email marketing and social media management
Fundraising calls and letters
5. Say Thank You
Although being stuck at home is a huge challenge, frontline workers are putting their health at risk every day during the coronavirus pandemic. If you know a doctor, nurse, or healthcare worker, consider sending them $15 for coffee or a meal, through an app like Venmo or PayPal. Or, send food delivery to healthcare facilities. Even a simple thank-you email or text will go a long way.