VOLUNTEER! Thirty years ago, April became National Volunteer Month as part of President George H.W. Bush’s 1000 Points of Light campaign in 1991.
There are many ways to participate. Volunteering is a rewarding experience you don’t have to have a lot of time. Do you have a special talent or skill that might benefit a charity? Offer your services or ask how you might be of help.
Many people find that it is much more convenient to become virtual volunteers, also called “cyber-volunteers,” “digital volunteers,” or even “e-volunteers.” Virtual volunteers serve causes both near and far. That service takes many forms, including:
- Data entry
- Fundraising phone calls
- Outreach to seniors
- Social media promotion
- Graphic design
- Marketing or branding support
- Virtual staffing assistance
- Website design or support
Here are five ways in which you can volunteer virtually wherever you are.
1. Make a call to a senior.
Check with your local United Way to learn how you can help by volunteering to make friendly phone calls to seniors to help them deal with loneliness and isolation. Make regular calls to assigned seniors to aid in feeling lonely and isolated. Prior to participating, volunteers often have to do an in-person meeting and background check.
2. Volunteer to read.
Some communities offer audio-reader programs for people who are unable to read standard print due to vision loss, physical or learning disability, mobility challenges, or age. Readings are done from your home via telephone, using your newspaper subscription or the company online subscription. Readings are once per week, two hours or less in length. Auditions may be required.
3. Give time to help with administrative or clerical work.
With so many nonprofits strained for live volunteers, lending your typing, data entry, or computer skills is a great way to assist local nonprofits in disseminating information to the community about COVID-19 resources and information.
4. Be a museum volunteer online.
Even the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex can use help, too. Help make the collections of The Smithsonian Institution more accessible by volunteering as a Smithsonian Digital Volunteer to transcribe historical documents or edit Wikipedia articles related to their artifacts and research.
5. Virtually volunteer through a national organization.
Volunteer opportunities of all kinds are available through established databases managed by national charities: