The rise and spread of the novel coronavirus has presented individuals and organizations committed to serving their communities with a unique paradox. With the increased traffic that many impact-oriented institutions have seen in the past weeks, plenty of us feel more inclined than ever to give back. Our ability to be a resource for those in need is urgent and important, but with stay at home orders in place across the country many of us are restricted from leaving our homes to perform acts of service. In turn, we find ourselves in a peculiar catch-22—leading us to ask: How can I help fight the pandemic and support organizations on the frontlines from the confines of my living room? Enter: Virtual Volunteering.
The outpouring of resources for fighting COVID-19 from the private sector has been impressive. Companies have made philanthropic contributions, donated product, offered free and reduced-price services, and more. Many have also supported their employees in giving back by promoting virtual volunteerism. Tech giant Adobe, for example, has open-sourced a catalogue of virtual volunteer opportunities. The Ford Fund’s new “Read and Record” virtual volunteering project invites Ford employees around the world to record videos reading a children’s book in their own language. Competitor Honda has similarly encouraged associates to continue the company’s tradition of volunteerism by supporting their existing nonprofit partners online.
Nonprofit organizations and online platforms that are regularly focused on providing information about how to volunteer have also stepped up to meet this new and growing demand for at-home volunteerism. Below are just a few examples that can serve as a resource for anyone who is seeking to join the fight against COVID-19, or simply hoping to use their extra time at home to have a positive impact.
Virtual Volunteering Resources
Catchafire: a certified B-Corp that matches volunteers’ professional talents with nonprofits in need of those skills. In response to COVID-19, Catchafire surveyed more than 450 nonprofits to identify what their biggest needs are during this time and determine how volunteers can support them virtually. Additionally, the platform posted 20+ COVID-19 “essential project” templates to help nonprofits continue their operations while working remotely.
Benevity: an organization offering corporate social responsibility and employee engagement software for brands who wish to provide online giving, matching, volunteering, and other purpose driven opportunities to their workforce. In the fight against COVID-19, Benevity has offered their expertise in digital engagement and employee volunteerism to shed light on ways evolve corporate efforts—and have even published remote volunteering templates and a list of organizations that have online volunteer opportunities.
VolunteerMatch: an online community that provides a digital directory of volunteer opportunities in cities across the United States. In response to COVID-19, VolunteerMatch launched a portal specific to promoting virtual volunteer opportunities that aid communities impacted by the coronavirus. Volunteers can search an inventory of COVID-19-specific opportunities, as well as a database of virtual engagements with organizations in need of help to continue their operations.
Points of Light: an organization dedicated to volunteer service, and works with its affiliates to offer creative, impactful and inspiring ways for people to take action and engage in their communities. In recognition of Global Volunteer Month, celebrated in April of each year, and the growing need sparked by COVID-19, the organization published tools, resources and virtual volunteer opportunities from across the Points of Light Global Network of affiliates.
Help From Home: for those hoping use their spare time at home to make an impact outside of COVID-19, Help From Home is a UK-based association that promotes and encourages participation in easy-to-do micro volunteering opportunities—where as little as 30 minutes is all that is needed to help out worthy causes. The platform strives to increase volunteer participation rates around the world, and has been building their database of actions that anyone, anywhere can participate in since 2008.
By Emily Wolfsohn, Assistant Account Executive