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Virtual Service

New times call for new ways of service. in SLCE, we're working to continue to connect students with shifting community needs so our neighbors can get the help they most need in this unprecedented time of social distancing. Check back often, as we will continue to update this list, or submit new community needs or ideas for service below.

What is virtual volunteering?

Virtual volunteerism refers to volunteer activities completed, in whole or in part, using the Internet and home, school, work or other Internet-connected devices. Virtual volunteering is also known as online volunteering, remote volunteering, or e-volunteering.

How does virtual volunteering work?

Many people find that becoming a virtual volunteer is more convenient, less expensive and time intensive, than compared to traditional physical volunteering. While there will always be physical volunteering, the shift towards online platforms has made virtual volunteering positions increasingly widespread and accessible.

In fact, in times of social disruption, such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic, working and volunteering remotely has become essential to keeping the economy, and especially non-profits, running. Due to the rise in teleworking tools such as Zoom, Skype, WebEx etc., it has never been easier, or more rewarding, to become a virtual volunteer!

What should I do before I sign up?

Once you have a list of ideas and organizations, the next thing is to research the non-profit or organization you would like to work with. Here are a few tips when exploring virtual volunteering opportunities:

  • Research each organization thoroughly
  • Understand how your hours and work will be recorded
  • Know what kind of training or experience is required
  • Discuss needs and expectations with the non-profit

Additionally, Steps, Student Training & Education in Public Service has developed a step by step guide of how to navigate the virtual world of volunteer opportunities. Be sure to check out these steps to consider before choosing an opportunity that is right for you. 

Where can I find opportunities?

To find opportunities, use established databases and well-known charities.

To help students, we have compiled a collection of virtual volunteering opportunities – this resource includes non-profits, search engines, news articles, research papers, videos and software links.

Short Term Opportunities

  • Description: Be My Eyes is a free mobile app with one main goal: to make the world more accessible for blind and low-vision people. The app connects blind and low-vision individuals with sighted volunteers and companies from all over the world through a live video call.
  • Focus: Community, health
  • Time Commitment: sporadic based on user needed
  • Additional Requirements: ability to download application, Apple or Android
  • Website Information: https://www.bemyeyes.com/
  • Description: Bookshare® is an ebook library that makes reading easier. People with reading barriers can customize their experience and read in ways that work for them
  • Focus: Education, literacy, accessibility
  • Time Commitment:
  • Additional Requirements: application required
  • Website Information: https://www.bookshare.org/cms/get involved/volunteer/opportunities-us
  • Description: Become part of our team and empower dyslexic, blind, and visually impaired students to succeed in school, and in life.
  • Focus: Literacy
  • Time Commitment: Volunteer form, Orientation Video
  • Additional Requirements: n/a
  • Website Information: https://go.learningally.org/Get-Involved/Volunteer-Step-1
  • Description: Lifetime Connections Without Walls is not possible without the great volunteers who facilitate the telephone activities for older adults living at home.
  • Focus: Senior Citizens
  • Time Commitment: Weekly, one a month, flexible dependent on volunteer
  • Additional Requirements: n/a
  • Website Information: https://www.familyeldercare.org/volunteer/lifetime-connections-without-walls/
  • Description: To enable brands and individuals to be heard in their own voices. Unique digital voices built by VocaliD uplift those who rely on assistive technologies, diversify the voices we hear in speaking devices and apps, and enable businesses to tap into the full power of voice identity.
  • Focus: Accessibility
  • Time Commitment: 2-3 hours. Can be broken up into smaller recording sessions
  • Additional Requirements: Must be an English speaker, have access to a computer for recording, have an over the ear headset microphone
  • Website Information: https://vocalid.ai/voicebank/ and https://vocalid.ai/faq/
  • Description: Become a Smithsonian Digital Volunteer and help us make historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible.
  • Focus: Education, literacy
  • Time Commitment: varies
  • Additional Requirements: There are self-directed materials you MUST carefully review to learn transcription rules. This is work that requires volunteers to be meticulous.  
  • Website Information: https://transcription.si.edu/tips 

Long Term Opportunities

  • Description: Crisis Text Line is the free, 24/7 text line for people in crisis in the United States. The service is powered by volunteer Crisis Counselors who work remotely—anywhere with a computer and secure Internet connection works. Crisis Counselors answer texts from people in crisis, bringing them from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening, collaborative problem solving, and safety planning.
  • Focus: Health, mental health
  • Time Commitment: 4 hours per week until 200 hours is reached, ideally between the hours of 10pm-6am EST
  • Additional Requirements: 30 hours of online training to become a Crisis Counselor, free to volunteer
  • Website Information: https://www.crisistextline.org/become-a-volunteer/
  • Description: We are building a world-class listening service made up of compassionate, caring individuals like you. Our trained volunteer listeners are available 24/7 to give emotional support over online chat.
  • Focus: Health, mental health
  • Time Commitment: varies
  • Additional Requirements: Complete an active listener course and create a listen profile
  • Website Information: https://www.7cups.com/listener/become-a-volunteer-listener.php
  • Description: We are a non-profit charity helping people BUILD out of poverty through education and housing construction assistance.
  • Focus: Housing
  • Time Commitment: varies depending on project, weekly Virtual Volunteer newsletter outlines projects that volunteers can assist with
  • Additional Requirements: n/a
  • Website Information: https://www.sheltertheworld.org/virtual-volunteer/
  • Description: In order to provide life-saving support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) youth, The Trevor Project recruits passionate volunteers to staff our crisis intervention services. Volunteers are vital to Trevor’s work, and are instrumental in providing a safe and secure connection for LGBTQ youth to reach out.
  • Focus: LBGTQ Youth
  • Time Commitment: weekly commitment for minimum of 1 year
  • Additional Requirements: application, interview, background check, online training
  • Website Information: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-involved/volunteer/
  • Description: Now more than ever, it is our supporters and volunteers that will empower us to keep going!  Become a Virtual Volunteer, and help our participants receive training and keep connected with their community during the COVID19 pandemic. 
  • Focus: Accessibility
  • Time Commitment: Flexible
  • Additional Requirements: Application
  • Website Information: https://www.bestbuddies.org/volunteer/ 
  • Description: The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.​
  • Focus: Public Health
  • Time Commitment: Flexible
  • Additional Requirements: Application, training
  • Website Information: https://www.redcross.org/volunteer/volunteer-role-finder.html
  • Description: We help people bring social responsibility in house by connecting volunteers, students, retirees, and working professionals to serve as mentors to the children in the communities we serve all over the globe.​
  • Focus: Education, Children, International
  • Time Commitment: 1 hour per week
  • Additional Requirements: Application
  • Website Information: https://www.villagebookbuilders.org/mentor/ 
  • Description: During this time of uncertainty, high school students need the support of a mentor the most! You do not have to physically meet with a student to impact their life, just knowing you are there for them virtually can make all the difference!
  • Focus: Education, Children
  • Time Commitment: Flexible
  • Additional Requirements: Application, training
  • Website Information: https://www.takestockbrowardfl.org/mentor-today 

Research Databases

  • Description: Filter through volunteer opportunities based on cause area, skillset, and time commitment to find the best option for you.
  • Focus: various
  • Time Commitment: various, 1 hour to months, you pick projects based on your availability to commit
  • Additional Requirements: short online application, some projects may require an interview
  • Website Information: https://www.catchafire.org/
  • Description: The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. This research is made possible by volunteers — more than a million people around the world who come together to assist professional researchers. Our goal is to enable research that would not be possible, or practical, otherwise.
  • Focus: Environmental, research
  • Time Commitment: varies depending on project
  • Additional Requirements: n/a
  • Website Information: https://www.zooniverse.org/get-involved
  • Description: Using our digital platform, DoSomething members join our volunteer, social change, and civic action campaigns to make real-world impact on causes they care about.
  • Focus: varies based on cause, project, action
  • Time Commitment: varies based on cause, project, action
  • Additional Requirements: n/a
  • Website Information: https://www.dosomething.org/us
  • Description: VolunteerMatch matches inspired people with inspiring causes. It's how volunteers and nonprofits connect to achieve remarkable outcomes.
  • Focus: varies based on cause, project, action
  • Time Commitment: varies based on cause, project, action
  • Additional Requirements: varies based on cause, project, action
  • Website Information: https://www.volunteermatch.org/virtual-volunteering
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