What is Virtual Volunteering - Sarah Laud

The pandemic has resulted in a focus on remote working, but few have discussed the advantages of virtual volunteering. This is another type of change our society has gone through in recent months, and it has helped people on both ends of the philanthropy spectrum. Those who want to give have found that their time is still valuable, while those in need can benefit from virtual volunteering services with nothing more than an internet connection.

What is Virtual Volunteering?

While the concept is still relatively new, virtual volunteering is just what the name implies. People can devote their time to the cause of their choice while remaining safe and comfortable in their own homes. They can perform administrative tasks, such as data entry and sending out emails, which are essential tasks that every charitable organization must perform. Alternatively, volunteers can also find opportunities that let them interact directly with the recipients of those services. How you choose to volunteer your time will depend on the level of personal interaction you seek.

Traditionally, counselors, animal support services, and other social services met face-to-face sessions. Still, the spread of the pandemic and risk of infection has made that type of situation impossible. Rather than depriving people of those essential services, virtual sessions can be scheduled. This allows individuals to meet with a counselor or a therapy dog via their internet connection. This is especially helpful for the elderly and disabled living in rural areas, where traveling to an office would be problematic under the best circumstances.

What are the Advantages of Virtual Volunteering?

There are many reasons the volunteer can find this type of situation appealing. For example, a virtual volunteer‘s time is more flexible, allowing them to take care of household duties between meeting clients, completing clerical tasks, or performing other charitable responsibilities. Since the volunteer can choose their degree of involvement, they can create a schedule that works best. This means they can spend more time volunteering without infringing on their home lives more than they plan.

The social interaction virtual volunteering provides people who are isolated at home as well. This may be one answer to the increasing problem of depression and mental illness for those trapped alone at home. Both the volunteer and those receiving services can benefit from the increased social interaction this opportunity provides.