Volunteer From Home, or wherever you choose to be!
Now lets #goVirtual to #fightCorona with #socialdistancing and #continuevolunteering :
Virtual volunteering or Online volunteering usually refer to volunteer activities, using the Internet or other Internet-connected device, such as a smart-phone or a computer. Volunteers can transcend geographical and manmade borders and contribute to a cause without physical presence at NGO office or community. Key advantages:
- Work from the comfort of your home, office, college or while on the road
- Use the device you are most comfotable with - your own
- Safety, security, convenience - all in your hand
- Impact often lasts longer since virtual volunteering mostly leverages your skills
Quick Primer to #goVirtual
Step 1. Reflect .
Why do I want to volunteer ? This is important to articulate so that you pick the opportunity that will engage you the best . The reasons could be any. Write it down somewhere so you can assess if the activity you did, met your motivation needs. Here is an interesting read
Step 2 . Understand the opportunity well.
Why does the NGO want this help? What will they do with the outcome? How will it make a difference? What exactly is needed? There are broadly 2 types of opportunities
- That which is “ideas” based – which are in the “how to do” realm . Examples include, how to design a newsletter, a project plan , an MIS, a policy etc
- That which is “tasks” based – which are in the realm of tangible outputs- writing the newsletter, creating the project plan, creating an MIS etc.
The first is generally only useful if the NGO has a strong execution team. The second is almost always more useful because most NGOs struggle to find appropriate skills sets for the same.
Step 3 . Choose wisely
Some of the factors that you should consider before choosing a virtual opportunity include
- Does the cause interest / inspire you
- Does the person you are engaging with seem interested in your offer
- Your access to internet connectivity
- Does your communication style match that of the NGO ( you may prefer email- the NGO may prefer whastapp OR they may not have access to internet as you might)
- Urgency of the task
- Your availability of the time needed to complete the task- do not take the same on if you cannot complete the same.
Step 4 .Seek and act on feedback
NGOs are generally shy about giving feedback , specially if they want improvements. Solicit the same and be gracious in accepting feedback on what could be improved. This is better than creating something that the NGO may not use at all. Proactively offering to work on feedback creates rapport and trust with the NGO and the efforts you put in will more likely result in outcomes that the organisation can use .
Virtual volunteering is easy. All it takes is your will to get started.