Virtual Volunteer: How and Where

Virtual Volunteer

The Coronavirus has changed how we go about our daily lives. Some of us are under mandatory quarantine while others are just taking appropriate precautions by limiting social interaction. This new world that the Coronavirus helped sculpt has presented us with new barriers, widening the bridge between members of our community and the world. This presents a huge dilemma for our society as the world is in more need of volunteers and extra hands than ever before. Everyday, we read and hear news on the devastating impact that the virus has on our world. We hear stories about the pain of losing a loved one and the fear of having the lives of our loved ones stolen away. We hear about how jam-packed the hospitals have been and worry about those without safe homes. We see the number of domestic violence cases and food insecurity increase and how those who lost their jobs struggle to make ends meet. While many states have initiated plans to re-open, we are still advised to social distance and avoid large crowds, making it difficult to volunteer in-person. The absence of in-person volunteers working in a community has left many of us feeling frustrated and helpless as we feel as if there is nothing we can do to assist those in need.

In moments like this, remember that while COVID-19 is changing the world as we used to know it, society has been adjusting to these changes as well. Many organizations have developed and evolved their programs so that donating time and volunteering can include more than being physically on-site. This means that you can help others and your community right from the comfort of your own home! All you need is Internet access! There are a variety of virtual volunteer opportunities including online teaching, content creating, web design, making and sending cards of encouragement, translating, and so much more! Below is a list of organizations that provide virtual volunteering opportunities. These organizations have worked extraordinarily hard to help the communities that they serve in a time that is unpredictable and challenging. If you have the means, please consider donating to these organizations to support the amazing work that they do!

Crisis Text Line 

Become a volunteer to help the Crisis Text Line continue to offer free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Crisis Text Line is the free, 24/7 text line for people in crisis in the United States. Crisis Counselors commit to volunteering four hours per week until 200  hours are reached. Before you begin as a counselor, there will be a training period to give you all of the expertise you need to successfully and empathetically navigate crisis intervention.

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Translators without Borders 

Translators without Borders depend on volunteers to translate millions of words. For those who are fluent in more than one language, check out this nonprofit! Whether you are interested in translating medical texts or translating for crisis response, there are engaging projects available to suit all preferences. Other volunteer roles such as project manager, graphic or web designers and fundraising are also valuable and needed.

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Be My Eyes

Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call. Volunteers lend their eyes to help solve tasks big and small to help blind and low-vision people lead more independent lives.

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United Nations Foundations 

United Nations connects interested volunteers with organizations looking for support in research, writing, administration, translation, outreach, art, and design. United Nations connects 12,000 volunteers to organizations yearly and has served over 187 countries. 

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The Trevor Project 

The Trevor Project provides a variety of volunteer opportunities that are feasible to do remotely. You can volunteer as a Crisis Counselor. As a Crisis Counselor, you will be trained to answer chat messages or texts online from young people who are struggling with issues such as coming out, LGBTQ+ identity, depression, and suicide.

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Chemo Angels Cancer Support 

Chemo Angels offers three  volunteer positions: traditional chemo angel, card angel, prayer angel. As a Traditional Chemo Angel you will be assigned to a patient who you will encourage through small gifts, cards, letters, uplifting notes for the duration of their treatment. As a Card Angel, you will  send your assigned patient at least one card, letter, or note a week, and perhaps a small gift every now and then, but gifts are not required for Card Angels. Prayer Angels are always on call for the prayer needs of both our recipients and our volunteers. 

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Amnesty Decoders

Amnesty Decoders is a network of digital volunteers that conducts research on global human rights violations. Volunteers have used their phones and computers to verify the location of oil spills, find evidence of drone strikes, and flag abusive tweets to women politicians in India. 

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Geeks without Bounds 

Geeks without Bounds is an international coalition of passionate problem solvers working together through the use of technology to assist people whose survival is threatened due to violence, neglect, or catastrophe. Online volunteers need to be experienced, credible IT experts and need to establish a relationship with this organization before a crisis.

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Science Buddies Ask an Expert Program 

Science Buddies Ask an Expert Program is a free online forum where students and parents can ask questions about K-12 science projects. Volunteer experts work together to provide personalized assistance with students who have questions about any phase of their project, from coming up with an idea to analyzing data to displaying results at a science fair.

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Zooniverse is a platform for people-powered research that literally wouldn’t be possible (or practical) without the help of online volunteers. Spend as much or as little time as you’d like identifying endangered animals, classifying galaxy systems, or transcribing Shakespearean manuscripts.

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