While volunteer work is traditionally done in person, more and more organisations are now welcoming virtual volunteers; they invite users with phones and computers to donate some of their time spent online to assist with a myriad of tasks. Online volunteer opportunities boast several advantages, including the flexibility of your volunteer hours and schedule, and the type of work you can do for an organisation.
Rather than canvassing on the street for example, volunteers can generate social media content to spread awareness and raise funds online. And rather than meet with clients face to face, plenty of organisations now have volunteers meet with clients over video chat platforms to assist them. Here are four examples of virtual volunteer projects you can participate in from your phone or computer.
The UN is offering a wide range of online volunteering opportunities. Users that are interested in translation can contribute by translating flyers, virtual speeches, journals and UN volunteer testimonies, poll and survey results, and more. The organisation also welcomes volunteers to aid in post-production video editing, social media management, data analysis, teaching online English language classes for children and youth, and a great deal more opportunities. Do note that the program requires anywhere from 1-5 hours per week, to 20+ hours per week, depending on the specific volunteer position.
Shape Charity’s mission is founded on the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Summit and addresses the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set up in that summit. The SDGs target the eradication of poverty, the presence of inequality, and the state of climate change in the world. To begin volunteering your time, Shape Charity invites prospective volunteers to register their interest in one of eight technical topics: SEO, Digital Media Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Content Writing, Fundraising and Influencing, Volunteer Management, Brand Assistance, and Multimedia Design.
The PerMondo initiative provides translation services to non-profit organisations, and they encourage anyone with foreign language skills to volunteer their time as a translator. Those who are familiar with computer-assisted translation tools, like Trados or Wordfast, are at an advantage. The organisation does offer their own online guides to help familiarise yourself with these tools, though. Volunteers will mainly focus on translation of web pages and translation of texts and documents for non-profits.
Missingmaps.org volunteers are aiding relief efforts by mapping areas where disasters occur. First responders from humanitarian organisations rely on having access to accurate maps when forming their response strategies, and often, these areas are essentially missing from maps. As a remote volunteer, you are responsible for tracing satellite imagery into the OpenStreetMap platform; volunteer tasks might include tagging buildings and outlining roads on a map. Next, community volunteers add more local details that satellite imagery doesn’t pick up, like street names and evacuation centers in that area. Finally, humanitarian organisations refer to these completed maps when planning risk reduction and disaster response activities.
These are only a few examples of online volunteering projects that you can contribute to, no matter what country you’re based out of; there are likely more than a few organisations in your local community that also rely on help from virtual volunteers. So, take advantage of your access to a computer (among some populations it’s a privilege that not all people have), and act on your passion for empowering others in small or large ways.