When you think about volunteering for a charity, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you have to be at a specific place helping people by serving food, handing out flyers or even collecting donations.
However, in the digital age, there is a new way to help a good cause. Since the 1990s, virtual volunteering has continued to grow in popularity alongside the internet, and it’s become a vital lifeline for many charities. Now, organisations like ours are creating virtual volunteer positions every day. These positions function completely online and volunteers can work remotely to help a good cause.
It’s no surprise that virtual volunteering is booming. We now live most of our lives online, spending free time on social media and browsing the internet, so it makes sense for charities to have an online presence too. This means they need online volunteers.
For charities like ours, most of the volunteering needs to be done online. We help children in Cameroon but most of our sponsors reside in countries like the UK. Therefore, it would be awfully difficult for us to continue our mission without the internet and without the talented volunteers that help us every day. Our volunteer website developers, content creators, researchers, bid writers and volunteer coordinators cannot realistically work from Cameroon but thanks to virtual volunteering they’re able to help us raise awareness of issues and find sponsors for our children from their own homes.
We’re proof that helping a charity no longer means giving up your weekends to raise money, instead, you can help a charity from the comfort of your sofa at a time that suits you. Volunteering online is a great way to give back and help a worthwhile cause but what are the benefits and why should you consider it?
We’ve outlined some of the benefits that online volunteering has:
It’s a flexible way to give back
Traditional face to face volunteering often comes with a regular commitment; you are expected to be somewhere to help for a designated amount of time. When working full time, or balancing with day to day life, this can make volunteering difficult. Time constraints and pressures can take some of the fun out of volunteering for a charity.
Online volunteering provides you with the flexibility to help a good cause in your own time, as and when it suits. By writing blogs, helping with social media and digital marketing or even researching for a charity, you can work at a time that works for you and can balance it with your day job, studies or other commitments. Online volunteering means less obligation and a greater level of freedom.
You can help people across the world
Charities like ours work with children and families across the globe. While our focus is in Cameroon, many of our volunteers are able to help the children who live there to break out of the poverty cycle from the UK and in other countries. Volunteering online means that our team can help children in one of the world’s poorest countries, without having to be there themselves. With so many great technologies that allow us to share content and collaborate, our teams can work remotely to find sponsors for children in Cameroon who need it most. Therefore, it’s safe to say that with online volunteering, the impact of your time can be felt across the world.
You can put your skills to good use
A lot of online volunteering is skills-based. Whether your skills lie in web development, writing, social media, design or research, volunteering for a charity is a great and rewarding way to put them to the test. If you have these skills and expertise but want to make a difference in someone’s life, perhaps your day job doesn’t offer you this chance, then giving up a few hours a week to utilise them for a worthwhile could be a great solution. It’s also a chance to refine and improve upon your skillset while helping a worthy cause.
It’s easy to raise awareness
In a world of social media, it’s so easy to raise awareness for a charity - all it takes is liking and sharing the posts. Where previously it may have been harder for you to share your good deeds and let your friends and family know about the charity you volunteer for, it’s now easier than ever to share your mission and spread the word. This makes online volunteering even more rewarding, as other people can see the work you’re doing; they can read your blogs, see the website you’ve built or even share your social media posts. Friends and family are a great network for raising awareness, so having something tangible to show them means you can make even more of an impact with your work.
It enhances your CV
Volunteering at a charity, while personally rewarding can also help to enhance your career prospects. Online volunteering is a chance to show that you have specific skills required for the world of work but also to show future employers your passions. For example, helping Children of Cameroon with our social media shows you understand the platforms and have an eye for a great post but also gives you a chance to explain why you want to help with our mission. It gives you something extra to talk about in job interviews and will help your CV stand out amongst a sea of candidates. Not only will it build up your skillset but show you’re a caring and dedicated individual.
You can meet like-minded people
Any great charity has a team of volunteers behind it, and if you volunteer for a charity like ours you’ll be able to meet like-minded people from all over the world. Online volunteering doesn’t have to be a lonely experience, you’ll find yourself in group chats and working with individuals who share your passions. Working together towards a common goal is a great way to form new friendships. Plus there’s no feeling like the sense of achievement you’ll all share when something good happens like when we find a sponsor for a child.
You can help a good cause
Of course, we saved the most important benefit until last. It seems obvious but the main advantage of volunteering online is that you can make a real impact and help a charity. Whatever you’re passionate about, there will be a charity out there looking for help with its online presence and whether you have the skills or simply the willingness to help you can contribute to their cause digitally. Our volunteers work hard to help raise awareness of the work we do and help to find sponsors so that our children in Cameroon can access education, healthcare and achieve their dreams. This is the most rewarding aspect for all of our online volunteers.
Our team of virtual and on the ground volunteers work to find sponsors for children living in poverty in Cameroon. They also help the children to access education, nutritious food and basic health and safety. To find out about online volunteering opportunities at Children of Cameroon and how your skills can help us on our mission, visit our Do IT page.