8 Online Volunteering Opportunities That Make a Difference

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Volunteering is a great first step towards accepting responsibility for the future we leave behind. Not only is committing your own time and energy to help others extremely rewarding, but it's also beneficial to your career; if you’re struggling to land that dream job, for instance, volunteering offers valuable work experience and the chance to develop key career skills.

Of course, the problem that many professionals face is that they simply don’t have the time to commit to volunteer work; if you have a busy schedule or other pressing responsibilities, then there’s a good chance you’ll only have a few spare hours at night, by which point your volunteering options are pretty limited. Luckily, this is where online volunteering comes in. It can be carried out from the comfort of your own home, and it’s ideal if you have specialised hard skills that you’d like to utilise.

So, if you want to help others, while padding out your CV in the process, check out these online volunteering opportunities - and see what kind of a difference you can make...

1. UN Volunteers (UNV)

The UNV programme is the United Nations’ online volunteering platform and offers dozens of online opportunities across the world. Like the rest of the UN’s efforts, this programme strives to boost sustainable human development, and finding a project through this platform means that you’ll be able to do truly meaningful work.

The best part about the UNV website, however, is that it’s very easy to use, and finding an opportunity that fits your needs is simple. You can start by choosing the sector you’d like to work in – translation or teaching, for example – and you can then navigate through the various opportunities generated to find something that suits you.

2. Help from Home

Help from Home is a UK-based organisation which aims to bring together volunteers and micro-volunteering projects. The goal here is to encourage more and more people to participate in projects that do not require long-term commitment and which can help make their spare time more impactful.

This platform is very user-friendly and will help you navigate through their many virtual volunteering opportunities. The best feature, however, has to be the ‘pyjama rating’ that is listed with every opportunity, so that you’ll know if you can complete the task in your bed wear.

3. VolunteerMatch

VolunteerMatch is an extremely popular organisation for volunteering opportunities. Although they don’t offer online opportunities exclusively, they have a pretty broad section for people who want to volunteer from home. This organisation is driven by the belief that everyone wants to make a difference in the world and that all people need is a platform from which to make it happen.

Their opportunities range from writing emails, newsletters, etc for non-profits to teaching musical instruments and even designing websites. You can start by selecting a cause that interests you and then filter the results generated by ‘Virtual’ to get results that match your needs.

4. Create the Good

Create the Good is an organisation that aims to help those who are interested in helping others and want to give back, but can’t due to not being physically present. The idea is to get those with extremely busy schedules or those caring for others (children, seniors, etc) to have a platform from where they can offer their services.

There are many opportunities available and, depending on your skill set, you are sure to find something that not only fits your skills but also makes you passionate for the cause. There are myriads of options available for people who can write or who can offer free legal advice, for instance, while there’s also a crisis hotline which you can staff if you want to help in a more hands-on manner.

5. Do-It

Do-It is the national volunteering database with over a million opportunities available. It’s also a platform which thousands of people trust, although you should note that the majority of the opportunities available in this database are for local work. However, it also offers many online volunteering opportunities, as well.

All you need to do to find a virtual volunteering opportunity is to filter search by ‘do-it from home’. You can then filter by ‘most recently updated’ to make sure that you are focusing on opportunities that are still in need of help.

6. Catchafire

Catchafire identifies itself as a community that strives to promote the social good sector. Their goal is to make volunteering as efficient and effective as possible by matching talented individuals with organisations that are in need of their specific skill set. They value results and, as such, only work with non-profits that have what they call a ‘demonstrable impact’.

You can search their database in a fairly straightforward way. Start by choosing ‘what you’re good at’ and then filter the results by ‘online’ or ‘virtual’. If your time is really limited, you may want to check out their ‘1h phone calls’.

7. School in the Cloud

The School in the Cloud is driven by the belief that knowledge can be acquired so long as there are enough resources to encourage the self-learning process. As such, they’re dedicated to providing a space for children from all around the world with internet access to search for specific information, aka the 'big questions'.

The big questions are asked by volunteers (aka the 'Grannies') who interact with students via Skype and ask the children to find answers and solutions to problems that will help them gain valuable knowledge. The children are encouraged to work in groups and move about freely, while Grannies provide any kind of support the children require, remotely.

8. Missing Maps

If you have a particular affinity for cartography, then Missing Maps - an initiative to map areas which are, up until now, unchartered - could be for you. Volunteers are asked to map some of the most vulnerable areas on Earth, so that crisis teams can respond whenever there’s a natural or humanitarian disaster in a more efficient way. Helping this organisation and its partners (which includes the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières) is as simple as looking at satellite images on your computer and then adding buildings and roads to maps. There’s information on the organisation’s website on how to edit maps and you’ll have lots of support throughout the process.

Volunteering online is not just a way to cultivate and test your skills, but also a responsible and rewarding thing to do with your spare time. As privileged and educated people, it’s our responsibility to help those in need and it can also be extremely fulfilling to know that we’re doing good. These projects will not interfere with your work hours or other responsibilities, so they can definitely be accommodated into your life.

Let us know which kind of project would suit your personality and skills in the comments section below!