Volunteering online has become increasingly popular as technology develops and is more accessible. It has also increased dramatically during the global pandemic, as people find themselves restricted to households or their location changing as guidelines develop. As we are returning to a ‘normal’ world many volunteers are favouring online volunteering over in person volunteering. Online volunteering (or remote volunteering) can be done from anywhere in the world with an internet connection or phone signal, however it often gets a lot of criticism and there’s a few false assumptions that people make surrounding it.
So we’re here to bust 4 of these myths!
Myth 1: It’s a recent development
Whilst it has become more common recently, online volunteering has been around since the internet was first developed. One of the first online volunteering schemes was Project Gutenberg which was launched in 1971 using a computer network which would later become the Internet. So there’s almost 50 years of volunteering online to reassure you!
Myth 2: Remote volunteering is only used when the project is far away from where you live
This is especially not true given the current pandemic. Many organisations have adapted their volunteering schemes online as guidelines about social interaction changes and many of their volunteers are having to isolate. A lot of local organisations are now operating online and require volunteers with knowledge of the local area!
Myth 3: The experience is impersonal
Volunteering onsite and remotely can be as personal as you want it to be. Some people might find it easier to open up online and share feelings and thoughts with fellow volunteers. Many volunteer managers will also organise online socials and it can often remove some accessibility issues that volunteers can have!
Myth 4: Online volunteering is only technology related
A lot of potential volunteers fear that online volunteering is only for those who have skills within technology, such as website development. However, most opportunities aren’t focused on technological tasks and merely just take place online. For example, Sense are looking for Virtual Buddies to match with the people they work with and take part in weekly online activities, such as baking together, music quizzes or even just a chat!
So now you know how successful and enjoyable online volunteering is, why not check out some of these online opportunities?
UN Online Volunteers have numerous roles including outreach, translation, research and teaching
Transcribing historical documents for the Imperial War Museum
Helping those affected by natural disasters by mapping areas for humanitarian organisations with Missing Maps
Tagging wild animal sightings with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL)
Translators without borders are looking for people who speak more than one language
Be My Eyes is an app that connects visually impaired people with volunteers to help them
Localgiving is a not-for-profit organisation that has recently created a service to link digital volunteers with charities
If this has inspired you to volunteer, check out one of our other 90+ ongoing opportunities or book a one-to-one with David Coles, the Volunteer Centre Manager if you have more questions. And why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with our events and opportunities and read our blog for more volunteering tips and stories.