Why we love virtual volunteering (and you should, too!)

virtual volunteeringSince the beginning of time, corporate philanthropy professionals have grappled with methods to increase employee engagement and participation in workplace giving. While it’s relatively easy for employees to give monetarily, especially through online platforms and payroll integrations, employee volunteerism dances to a more complicated tune.

Unless your company allows volunteering during the workday, employees must find the time to volunteer on their own. Add in personal obligations, family, PTA meetings, and sleep, and you begin to see there isn’t enough time in the day to help out the local soup kitchen. Even if you encourage volunteer work during work hours, employees still lose valuable time getting to the place.

Make things easier with virtual volunteering
You can take the hassle out of volunteering by offering your employees virtual volunteer opportunities. Through online volunteering, employees can give their skills, knowledge and ability directly from their computers or smartphones. With unmatched convenience and a plethora of nonprofits in need, employees can apply their skills in many ways. From data-entry to graphic design, this type of skills-based volunteerism is not limited to geographic boundaries or time constraints.

Virtual volunteering connects volunteers from all walks of life and backgrounds to global charities that may not have the necessary ability and resources locally. Further, volunteers can give support through skills they may not even realize they have, such as teaching simple computer know-how and basic math to impoverished children.

The Ann Foundation, a US-based organization dedicated to educating and empowering disabled children globally, leverages hundreds of online volunteers from many countries to develop and teach online classes to children in India. Covering subjects from English to Basic Computer Literacy, volunteers act as teachers and curriculum writers, as well as role models and mentors to the children. Since its inception thirteen years ago, the Foundation has educated over 2,000 children and has seen 85% improve their English skills, and earn higher exam scores, leading to over two-thirds of students passing all their classes.

It gets even easier with micro-volunteering
With micro-volunteer opportunities, employees can work on simple projects when pumping gas, in line at the grocery store, or waiting for the bus! A form of virtual volunteering, micro-volunteerism consists of online based, short-term assignments and tasks with very low commitment. These bite-sized tasks are generally easy to complete and don’t require a screening process or training period from nonprofits.

Approaching volunteer work with an “on the go, on your own terms” mentality makes workplace volunteer programs more accessible to busy employees. Simply recognize their personal online efforts or give them virtual opportunities to support causes dear to your company.

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) provides an online volunteering service that works to connect volunteers with organizations addressing development challenges worldwide. Potential volunteers can search for opportunities from eligible nonprofits by weekly time obligation, topics, and/or tasks that match their specific skills. Upon applying, the organization reviews and selects volunteers best suited for the task at hand.

Strategically incorporating virtual volunteerism into your social responsibility program enhances your company’s reach and impact on the Global Village while providing employees the flexibility to contribute to social good, conveniently.


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