Give back during this difficult time through Virtual Volunteerism. Here are the top 5 reasons to try it!
Written by Ashley Rivera
Volunteering - so many people want to give back to nonprofits or small businesses but might not feel that they have the time to take away from their busy lives or they might not be comfortable visiting nonprofits in person yet given out COVID-19 world. If you are having a hard time finding a nonprofit of choice, if the idea of virtual volunteerism is scary or if you are struggling to find the time to volunteer with your schedule - this blog is for you! Let's talk about the top 5 reasons why you should try virtual volunteerism and where to start.
- It's flexible
- With our new virtual world, you don't need to use your time commuting to a nonprofit across town. You can pick the amount of time you want to serve and even sometimes what times you want to volunteer. Better yet, you are able to volunteer in the luxury of your own home which means you aren't restricted by physical disabilities, distance or any other obligations keeping you from making it to the site.
- You can combine your skills and your passion
- Most virtual volunteer opportunities are skills-based which means you leverage a special skill or talent of yours to help strengthen the infrastructure of a nonprofit and help achieve their mission. For example, if you are in the marketing field you can assist a nonprofit with running their social media, creating marketing videos or examining their website for upgrades. If you are in IT, you can assist with computer set up, answering technical questions and more. This is a great way to give back in an impactful way with a skill you are great at or even a skill that you are working on strengthening and are passionate about!
- Networking Opportunities
- When you volunteer at a nonprofit organization, you might end up meeting other people there from across multiple industries. You get to meet other people in your city or state and that could lead to mentorship, friendship or a future career. By getting to know others in different industries and with different backgrounds, it opens your eyes and helps you become a more well-rounded individual. If you recently moved to a new city, this is also a great way to meet others , learn about your new city and build new friendships!
- Enhance your future career portfolio
- Future employers pay attention now more than ever to volunteer experience on resumes. In fact, 97% of human resource executives agree that contributing to a nonprofit can improve an employee’s leadership skills. 60% of hiring managers see the act of volunteerism as a valuable asset when making a hiring decision according to Career Builder. The Corporation for National and Community Service issued a report that found that volunteers have a 27% higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers. Even more staggering, volunteers without a high school diploma have a 51% higher likelihood of finding employment. Volunteering can only enhance your portfolio for your current and future career, while improving your well-being.
- Not only will it help you in the recruiting process, but a volunteer opportunity could help you explore new career options if you aren't sure where to go next. Volunteering could help you find a new passion of yours that you want to turn into a career and could help you make that next career transition.
- Personal Satisfaction
- Studies show volunteerism improves health by improving mood, decreasing stress and strengthening the body, i.e. the "Happiness Effect." Weekly volunteering leads to happiness levels comparable to a life-changing salary boost. You will not only help others, but you will also be helping yourself! If you are feeling anxious or stressed out at work, using some of your VTO hours will help you decompress, improve your mood and you can get back to work with a clear mind and a better work environment.
When you are deciding on where to volunteer your time, it can be helpful to ask yourself a few questions to get started:
- How much time are you willing to commit?
- What are your skills and interests?
- What causes are important to you?
- Do you prefer to work with children, adults or even animals?
- Would you prefer to work directly with people or more behind the scenes?
- Do you have the necessary equipment at home to complete a task, such as internet and a computer?
If you are interested in getting involved, find a nonprofit you are most passionate about and reach out to them or check out their website. They can open your eyes to many volunteer opportunities available and you can sign up to get involved. Many nonprofits may not list virtual volunteer opportunities on their site yet because they might not have thought about them before. We are in the middle of connecting with our nonprofit partners to even “dream up” new and creative ways that our partners can get involved and help them.
When reaching out to a nonprofit about virtual volunteer opportunities, consider asking these questions:
- I have a skill in computer science, can I use this to help contribute to your organization?
- Do you have anything on the backburner you could use assistance on to complete?
- What is something new and creative you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t been able to complete yet?
- What can you gain most from a virtual volunteer?
- Will this be ongoing or a short-term assignment?
During this difficult time, we need to think differently on how we can help our nonprofits and communities. Signing up for virtual volunteering is a great first step to helping those in need during this unprecedented time.