This post is part of our Connecting for Change series, a deep dive into the energizing and inspiring world of online volunteering. This week, we explore how to find and post online volunteering opportunities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought along many changes for nonprofit organizations. As needs are reevaluated and programming continues to pivot to digital spaces, the sector as a whole is undergoing a significant transformation. In the midst of this adjustment, online volunteers are playing a big part in assisting nonprofits in their day-to-day operations. A recent study by Catchafire, for example, found a 48% increase in under-resourced nonprofits and charities seeking support from online volunteers. As they write, “volunteers near and far have risen to the occasion to make their time in quarantine count. Displaying the best of what humanity has to offer, skilled volunteers have more and more looked for ways to help from a distance and strengthen nonprofits in communities around the country who need it most.”
Their report, available online alongside an interactive map of most in-demand volunteer skills, identifies the sector’s key needs and cause areas during the pandemic. As the report indicates, right now key nonprofit needs revolve around managing remote teams, diversifying fundraising avenues, and facilitating virtual programming in common cause areas such as youth development, education, and health and human services.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Catchafire has observed a staggering 145% increase in virtual, skills-based volunteerism, making online volunteering more important than ever. In the last several months, online volunteers have been supporting nonprofits with tasks such as translation, video editing, online research, donor letter-writing, and lots more. If your nonprofit is seeking support during this challenging time, or if you are individual who would like to lend a hand from a distance, below we outline a number of portals where you can post or find online volunteering opportunities in Canada and abroad.
Where to Connect with Online Volunteers:
- Charity Village is one of Canada’s leading nonprofit hubs, featuring an extensive recruiting database, educational resources, sector news and more. Their volunteering search engine allows you to customize your search by location, position type, distance, category and more. Organizations looking to post a listing can do so for free.
- Volunteer Canada was established in 1977 to provide national leadership and expertise on volunteer engagement. Their website features an online volunteering directory that offers a round-up of links and resources broken down by province.
- Volunteer Match helps tens of thousands of organizations better leverage volunteers to create real impact. Their online volunteering database lists hundreds of opportunities in areas ranging from medicine to education that can be accessed by anyone anywhere in the world. If you are an organization looking to recruit volunteers, for a small monthly fee Volunteer Match helps nonprofit streamline the process by assisting with matching, recruiting, and communications. At the time of posting, there are over 686,000 volunteers needed so you might just find the right opportunity for you!
- CUSO’s e-volunteering program connects volunteers to the organization’s international partners remotely. Tasks typically require 2-7 hours of work per week and can be done anywhere, provided you have a reliable internet connection available. Their short YouTube video introduces online volunteering in greater detail and outlines steps for getting involved.
- United Nations Volunteers has recently revamped their online volunteering portal, expanding its mission to support civil society organizations, governmental and public institutions looking to engage with volunteers remotely. Eligible groups can register with UNV to post their listings, while online volunteers can search their comprehensive database for opportunities that span many sectors (including, most recently, ones related to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Is your nonprofit considering working with online volunteers? If so, what are some of the tasks or causes where you are looking for volunteers to lend a hand? Is your nonprofit already working with online volunteers? What have you learned from the process of setting up this program? As always, leave us a comment below to share your experiences, we’d love to hear from you!