Volunteering has transformed dramatically compared to the old days. Increased Internet access, the rise of online communities, and the global pandemic have all contributed to a shift in the way we all “give back” to our surrounding communities.
Soup kitchens fundraising drives, fun runs, and other in-person initiatives were once the only way for corporations to provide a charitable outlet for their employees. And while those efforts are still fantastic ways to serve any given community, today’s corporate volunteers also donate their virtual time and skills.
How Does Virtual Volunteering Work?
Virtual corporate volunteering is simply an act of service that can be accomplished over the phone or Internet—and in modern times such opportunities abound. Aside from the obvious advantage of being able to give back without leaving the office, or home office, virtual corporate volunteerism is incredibly flexible—in terms of how much time you dedicate to it and how often your team gets involved.
These remote volunteering opportunities can take many forms. In fact, if it happens in front of a computer or on a smartphone, chances are it’s a good candidate for a virtual corporate volunteer program. Services include:
- Phone Calls and Outreach
- Virtual Assistance
- Social Media Promotion
- Website Support
- Graphic Design
- Administrative (data entry, proofreading, transcribing)
Volunteering online gives your team the power to donate their virtual time to a cause that matters to them. When corporations offer this type of outlet to their employees, it can lead to boosted morale, employee retention, an increase in recruitment, a better workplace atmosphere, and even helps employees develop and refine their skill sets.
Let’s take a look at some of the best virtual volunteer programs currently available.
Remote Corporate Volunteer Opportunities
1. Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes matches sighted volunteers with blind and low-vision individuals who are in need of visual assistance with a wide range of daily tasks, from reading recipes and instructions, to navigating new surroundings. To get started, your team downloads the free app and signs on whenever they can engage in a video call to be of assistance. It’s an innovative virtual volunteer opportunity that’s flexible enough for all team members to participate.
2. United Nations
The United Nations online volunteering database boasts many different service opportunities, such as helping with COVID response to contributing to a host of civil advocacy projects. There are also opportunities to perform research, translations, social media promotion, writing, graphic design. Volunteers can lend their skills and make a difference in a multitude of ways with the United Nations.
3. Career Village
Perfect for volunteers who are currently employed in the corporate setting, Career Village is a resource for students seeking practical career advice from professionals. Students log on and pose a number of pointed questions related to specific career paths. Marketing-minded students might ask “What should I study in college if I want to join a marketing agency?” or “How should I build my resume when applying for my first job?”
Working closely with participating schools, iMentor pairs high school students with college-educated professionals who can lend support in pursuit of the student’s academic goals. The iMentor staff provides volunteers with curriculum and expert advice, guiding them through the mentoring process. Mentors typically meet with students once per week online and once-a-month in person. So, while it’s not 100 percent remote, it is entirely rewarding.
5. Translators Without Borders
Corporations with team members that are fluent in at least one language other than their native tongue can help Translators Without Borders. The organization relies on volunteers to translate a wide array of texts related to humanitarian efforts, crisis management, advocacy, development, and more. Translation projects range from bi- or multilingual volunteer needs, all of which seek to overcome the language barriers that can make life difficult for so many.
6. Distributed Proofreaders
For Distributed Proofreaders, volunteers proofread pages of digitized text to prepare e-books for submission to Project Gutenberg, a free e-book library that archives and increases accessibility to valuable cultural works. Any corporate teams interested in volunteering can contribute as much or as little time as you have available.
Similar to the mission of Translators Without Borders, Tarjimly provides language assistance to people who struggle to navigate language barriers during difficult situations. The Tarjimly app matches multilingual volunteers to immigrants, humanitarian workers, asylum seekers, and more who need to quickly resolve a problem, but require a translator’s help. Both video and voice calls are possible with the app, and users can even share images and documents. Each chat requires anywhere between 30 seconds and five minutes of a volunteer’s time.
8. Catch A Fire
Like a conduit for virtual volunteers, Catch A Fire connects volunteers with nonprofit organizations that need help. Catch A Fire is essentially a search engine that deals exclusively with virtual volunteer work, giving professionals the opportunity to donate their time to a host of programs. Searches can be refined by skill, cause area, and time commitment, allowing for targeted searches and deliberate, structured corporate volunteer projects.
9. Smithsonian Digital Volunteers
Your team can make historical data more accessible to the masses through the Smithsonian Digital Volunteers program. Mainly consisting of transcription jobs, the program provides both general and specific instructions to volunteers, who join the team to transcribe an array of exciting historical documents, including historic audio recordings and even field notes from archaeological dig sites.
10. Create The Good
Another searchable database that helps individuals find virtual work, Create The Good is run by AARP. This volunteerism tool boasts a user-friendly interface that makes sifting through volunteer opportunities a snap. The search engine lets you choose “home/remote” only options and also allows you to narrow your search by time commitment required for each program or by category of volunteer work. This feature gives team members the power to choose the volunteer program that aligns with their passions and interests.
Remote Corporate Volunteerism Will Continue To Grow
There’s no turning back now. Virtual volunteer programs have become ubiquitous in the corporate world, and these initiatives will only increase in prevalence and availability. It’s so easy to offer your employees the chance to put in some time helping various communities—it’s your job to give them the option!