When people think about volunteering, they often imagine themselves cleaning up a community park, dishing out food at a soup kitchen, or walking dogs at an animal shelter. For many, however, busy days mean that traveling to volunteer in-person isn’t as much of a reality as we’d like. Thankfully, there’s a wide range of online volunteer opportunities that allow you to use your unique skills to make a difference while keeping a flexible schedule. If you’re in a position to help, check out these organizations that you can lend your time and talents to.
VolunteerMatch is one of the largest online databases to find volunteer opportunities in your area. Similar to Indeed and other job boards, companies and individuals can post the positions they need to be filled, and individuals around the world can offer their services. There are a plethora of virtual opportunities on the site, so be sure to filter based on the causes you’re interested in, your skills, and more. The website has even created a Covid-19 hub, so you can find positions to assist communities that have been especially impacted by the pandemic.
Mutual aid systems are fairly similar to charities but they differ in important ways. In these groups, people work together to meet the needs of everyone in their community. The groups operate on the assumption that everyone has something to contribute, and everyone has something they need. It’s more collaborative than the charity model, in which resources flow in one direction toward the cause. Mutual aid groups focus on community resources, and members offer their skills and resources, which are then redistributed throughout the community to whomever needs it.
To find a local mutual aid group in your area, do an online search for “mutual aid + your town.” If one doesn’t exist, consider creating one to make a tangible difference in your neighborhood. It’s also a great way to get to know your neighbors!
Crisis Text Hotline
Caring for mental health is just as important as caring for physical health. In the same way that a person might have an accident and require emergency care, they can also find themselves needing emergency mental care. The Crisis Text Hotline relies on the work of trained volunteers to answer text messages from people in crisis, “bringing them from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening, collaborative problem solving, and safety planning,” according to their website. This volunteer position requires 30 hours of online training, and once complete, you can take on your first shift.
UN Online Volunteering
The United Nations created an online portal where people can search for virtual community service ideas, many of which support vulnerable women and children. Much like VolunteerMatch, this database allows you to filter opportunities based on the goal, language, and skills required. They have virtual positions ranging from writing and translation to technology development and project management. If you’re interested in international relations or global relief, this is one of the best methods to get involved.
RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which supports people who have experienced sexual assault, as well as their loved ones. This organization is always looking for virtual volunteers to offer live, secure, and anonymous support. In order to qualify, you must take part in their 20-hour training program and commit to at least ten hours of service every month. While it helps to have a background in law, social work, or medicine, the training program ensures you have all of the tools necessary to help those who need it.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project provides life-saving support to LGBTQ+ youth. Those who are struggling with their identity, sexuality, mental health, and relationships can reach out and receive the support and strength they need. This is important because queer youth often do not receive the same education about sexual, mental, and physical health as their cisgender or heterosexual peers. The Trevor Project seeks to provide this information and act as a support mechanism. The group is always looking for people to work as crisis counselors who respond to digital messages or telephone calls. Before you can begin, you must undergo 40 hours of online training to ensure you’re prepared with all the tools and information you need.
Bookshare adapts print materials so that they are accessible for adults and children with disabilities. It is an eBook library that offers members access to a large collection of books, offering follow-along, highlighting, and large fonts as well as translations into braille. The group is looking for volunteers to help scan books, proofread documents, describe images, and support families and teachers. Getting involved is simple — all you need is a computer and internet access!
There are tons of different ways to help your community virtually, regardless of your skills and availability. Whether you want to be a crisis counselor, offer your services to a mutual aid group, or create your own volunteer service, there are a range of online opportunities for any lifestyle. Whether you’re helping the people in your neighborhood or halfway across the world, you can make a tangible difference in someone else’s life.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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