Over the years, my elder sister’s work in social activism opened my eyes to the impact volunteering has on communities. In this digital era, virtual team volunteer activities on online platforms create opportunities for individuals to contribute their time and finances.
Volunteering lets individuals who care about the same cause come together. It involves fundraising, social media promotions, petitioning for change and catalyzing decision makers to take action. Every good Samaritan in the chain matters, and the world is going to need such people when beset by dark times.
In this blog, I’ll go into what virtual team volunteer activities are and how you can give back to the community by championing a good cause!
1. What is Virtual Team Volunteering?
Virtual team volunteering means contributing to a cause you care about through a digital platform. Online volunteering is in place of physical philanthropic activities, enabling event organizers, social workers, volunteers and donors to work together.
When someone thinks of volunteers, they imagine a team rallying people for beach clean ups or delivering food and essentials to the poor. However, it’s not limited to just a few one-off occasions. When the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 resulted in most of us remaining indoors, volunteers got creative and leveraged social media to get more eyes and hands on deck.
For instance, Open RMS is an open-source electronic medical record system that aids healthcare facilities across the globe. You can be a part of this online organization by joining as a developer, tester, technical writer, etc., to improve their software. However, if you lack these specific skills, you can be a part of their help desk or spread the good work through your words.
Most companies encourage their employees to participate in these activities as they are an excellent tool for employee engagement. In addition to making the world a better place, virtual team volunteer activities also improve office work culture and coordination.
2. How do you make virtual team volunteering fun?
Making volunteering fun encourages people to stay interested in the cause in the long run, and here’s how!
2.1 Establish a set of volunteering activities
The first step is to determine the type and number of online volunteering activities that you and your team can participate in. Whatever you choose, the goal is to bring team members on a single platform.
The best way to do this is by finding activities that align with your business objectives. Your team members can engage better with the initiative and make the work more meaningful.
Moreover, if anybody from the company wishes to donate, you and your team can examine these organizations closely, do some research on the cause and select the ones to which you wish to donate.
2.2 Encourage employees to kick-off participation
It would be best if you encouraged them to take center stage and take up responsibilities independently. You can invite your team to share with you the causes they care about or want to volunteer for. Next, create a database of all those activities. That way, it’s easier to manage and keep track of who is assigned to what volunteering project. You can reassign or shuffle people where they’re required..
By putting the ball in their court, they’re more likely to be invested. Since these virtual team volunteer activities require a sincere interest and desire, it brings out the dedication in your team members.
2.3 Assign roles that are different from those in the workplace
When we used to play sports or engage in other extra-curricular activities during our school days, it improved and expanded our skills.
Similarly, giving responsibilities to employees outside of their comfort zone will help them nurture new skills. For instance, assigning programmers to a role where they need to communicate with the charity organizations and understand their initiatives. They’ll pick up communication skills and emerge more confident when presenting or interacting with donors and fellow volunteers.
2.4 Raise the stakes and make volunteering fun
To make your virtual team volunteer activities more fun, you could create contests and announce a reward for the top performer. Incentivize volunteering to give your team members goals to work towards, even if it requires them to go outside their comfort zones. For instance, you can create a hall of fame channel to give the winners and runner up members some public recognition. Or, send a care hamper or e-voucher to them after the contest ends.
Team members have to find online volunteering activities, take an active part in them and complete the whole initiative independently. They have to send in pictures or screenshots of them doing those activities. Ultimately, the one that serves the best purpose wins.
You can even pair up the participants or make two teams. They can choose any virtual volunteering activity and showcase their benevolent side.
3. Best Virtual Team Volunteer Activities
3.1 Skill-based volunteering
If you’re skilled at something, why not volunteer to share it with a group that could benefit from it?
Skill-based volunteering activities allow the team members to take up initiatives that resonate with their available skills. That way, they can hone their skills, take ownership of the action and improve their engagement.
For example, let’s say that there is a digital marketing team in your company. You find an NGO that works for older people, and they need some volunteers to handle their social media sites. This is something your team can help out with to raise the NGO’s visibility and credibility in the social space.
3.2 Virtual Fundraising activities
Virtual team fundraising ideas are not limited to one geography. Anyone can join in from any corner of the globe and be a part of the volunteering team With the help of digital media, the word spreads faster, and more can donate. Your team can share links to fundraising events on their social media handles. This will help other benevolent donors to take part in the initiative and generate the amount needed. All they have to do is pay a certain processing fee and donate as they wish.
GoFundMe, founded in 2010, is one such virtual fundraising platform. It allows users to create personal websites to describe their cause and the amount they’re looking to raise. Your team members can share the website details and be a part of the cause. Or, they can volunteer to donate any amount.
3.3 Outreach yoga to the community
Yoga is one of the best ways to relieve stress.Virtual Yoga programs are great to nurture the body and the mind from the comfort of our homes. Right now, you’re probably wondering how Yoga is connected to volunteering.Well, many online platforms hire volunteer yoga teachers to train people from all over the world.
Some of these platforms are Veteran’s Yoga Project, Heal One World, etc. You and your team could become a part of these organizations and improve people’s health around the world. All you need to do is go to their website, look up yoga teaching opportunities and apply. Then, they will contact you and give you all the details regarding the yoga classes.
3.4 Peer-to-peer counseling to beat mental sickness
Depression and mental sickness have plagued the world. According to WHO, 264 million people around the world are suffering from depression.
The only solution to tackle this problem is peer support. Clinical support and medications can relieve a person from stress temporarily. But constant human support and motivation is the key to eliminating depression for good. You must have also observed how much better you felt after a long conversation with a loved one or close friend.
This is why I consider peer-to-peer counseling sessions with mentally stressed people a helpful volunteering activity. And it could be fun as well since you’ll be learning a lot about people. For instance, Peer Support Solutions is an online platform where you and your team can connect with people seeking mental support. All you have to do is visit the website, click on the virtual peer programs, and lend a listening ear!
3.5 Online Tutoring
Providing education to children is another great virtual volunteering initiative. That way, you and your team can nurture them and help them make a better future for themselves.
For instance, Reading Partners is an online mentoring platform that helps students improve their literacy skills with assistance from volunteers. These volunteers should assist in tutoring children at least one session per week. All you need to do is register on their website and attend an orientation with staff and other volunteers. Then, after a background verification, they will schedule a virtual session with the students.
3.6 Help those with Impaired vision (Be my eyes app)
Be My Eyes is a nonprofit app where volunteers can help visually impaired individuals with tasks. All you need to do is download the app, and that will match you with a person.
As the virtual volunteers, you’ll have to help them read instructions, navigate new surroundings, etc., through video calls. In addition to helping people in need, your team can even help translate the app into other languages so that various others can use the app.
3.7 Assist humanitarian organizations by offering translation services (Translators without Borders)
If you are a multilingual person or there are members in your team who can speak various languages, this volunteering activity is for you.
Translators Without Borders is a platform where volunteers translate communications like medical documents or crisis response texts. Moreover, you can even be a part of non-translator opportunities such as fundraising drives, project management initiatives, or web design projects.
All you need to do is to go and register on the website. There are individual as well as group volunteer activities.
3.8 Mentor youth to find a perfect job (Career Village)
Career Village is a nonprofit platform where your team can connect with ambitious students for career counseling. You can answer their questions, help develop their skills and provide them guidance.. All you need to do is visit the website and create an account.
This platform assists you in shaping the future generation of professionals. You can share your experiences with them and make them ready for the future.
3.9 Make purchases and benefit a cause (Amazon smile)
AmazonSmile is a separate portal from Amazon’s main site. It offers the same items, prices, and benefits as Amazon.com. In addition, however, when you use AmazonSmile, the retailer’s Foundation contributes 0.5% of the cost of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice.
To avail of the service and participate in the activity, you must go to the AmazonSmile hub and click “Get Started.” First, you will have to sign in if you already have an Amazon account. Otherwise, you need to create an Amazon account. Following that, you can donate to any charity all over the world.
3.10 Participate in hunger-relief initiatives (Why Hunger)
WhyHunger is a platform that battles food scarcity globally. It connects volunteers with food pantry services.
It has an open-source database of community pantries called the National Find Food Database. Volunteers can expand the database by adding, maintaining, and updating entries to the list. For that, you need the register on the platform and be a part of the cause. You can even donate food packages to the organization. They will deliver those meals to underprivileged people all around the world.
4. FAQs about Virtual Team Volunteering
4.1 How do I set up a virtual volunteering program?
These are the steps that you must follow to set up a virtual volunteering program:
- Develop software so that volunteers can log their hours.
- Find online volunteering activities for members to perform.
- Set up an email awareness campaign.
- Create breakout rooms for your members as per the volunteering activity they will be doing.
- Monitor the progress of these activities. Set up a system where team members can report their progress.
4.2 What are some online volunteering opportunities?
Here is a list of some online volunteering opportunities:
- Be My Eyes
- Translators Without Borders
- Rise Against Hunger
- Career Village
- United Nations Volunteers
4.3 What is virtual volunteering?
Virtual volunteering means volunteering done online. With digital innovation, many digital organizations have been developed that promote volunteering activities. As a result, people worldwide can join as volunteers and help make the world a better place.
4.4 How do you make virtual volunteering fun?
Make virtual volunteering fun by
- Asking what causes they wish to support.
- Give them a time frame under which to find other volunteers and form a network.
- Award points to them for each milestone they reach, i.e social media promotions, inviting large contributions from donors etc.
- Create a fortnightly or monthly leaderboard for everyone to keep track of how their fundraiser is going.
- Reward the members who took active participation in them.
4.5 How do you engage volunteers virtually?
To engage your members in volunteering activities, you must understand why they are doing the task. That way, they will know what is asked of them and what they need to deliver. Moreover, they will also get how their actions will bring goodness to the world or save people from poverty, depression, etc.