Spotlight on Trends in Virtual Volunteering
Carolyn S. Berkowitz, ACCP
Over the last few weeks, we have heard from corporations about the increasing number of virtual volunteering opportunities open to their employees. In light of social distancing, nonprofits are identifying unique ways to help their organizations in a virtual capacity, while also keeping their corporate partners engaged and active. There are now tens of thousands (and growing) virtual opportunities to help nonprofits across the country – also giving employees a way to provide hands-on assistance in these difficult times.
Nonprofits addressing almost every issue need not just funding, but volunteer assistance as well. Virtual and safe opportunities exist for both immediate needs that are heightened by the current issues, and for ongoing, long-term needs. Most immediately, nonprofits have needs in areas such as fundraising, digital transformation, tech infrastructure, mobile resources, and virtual visits with those who are isolated. In addition, long-term assistance will be needed in capacity building, financial counseling, donor appreciation, human resources issues and more. IT workers, legal associates, and other skills-based employees can also help nonprofits during this crisis on a pro bono basis.
In difficult times like these, employees want to feel connected to purpose and solutions. Your company’s nonprofit partners are the first place to start, and “How can our employees help?” is the first question to ask. However, be mindful that for some partners, creating and managing volunteer projects that are not urgent may harm rather than help by distracting them from the mission at hand. If giving financially isn’t ideal for your employees, or if they prefer the option to be more hands-on, these are impactful ways they (and their families) can directly help those on the frontlines. April is Global Giving Month, and April 19-25 is National Volunteer Week, so it’s a great time to celebrate these opportunities to be involved.
To help your employees engage beyond your partner organizations, VolunteerMatch, the world’s largest volunteer engagement network, is one organization that has launched a volunteering portal specifically to promote ways to help communities impacted by the coronavirus. These virtual opportunities can be done remotely, typically with only a computer and internet connection, or by phone. The user can choose opportunities that are local by searching by zip code.
We have included here a link to access other virtual volunteer opportunities we are learning about and we will continue to keep this list updated as we discover more.