25 Places to Volunteer Online
Being quarantined at home has affected everything in our lives, including the ability to give back to our communities. Fortunately, there are plenty of organizations that allow you to volunteer without ever leaving your house. Here are 25 places to volunteer online.
- Volunteer Online - Filter through volunteer opportunities based on cause, skillset and time commitment. At Catchafire you can volunteer with anything from a one-hour phone call to a 3-month project.
- Do Something - Targeted toward youths, DoSomething.org connects volunteers with fun and simple projects like virtually sharing stress-management tips, contacting elected representatives about climate change, and connecting with senior citizens to decrease isolation during the quarantine.
- Help in Higher Education - Help researchers at universities like Harvard learn more about stereotypes associated with race, weight, sexual orientation and more by taking online surveys.
- Teach Others - Virtually teach personal finance, web design, software and more to people who need to find a job or build skills, helping them create impact through technology and education.
- Be Someone's Eyes - Help blind and limited-sight people with everyday tasks like reading the contents of canned food, finding a missing dog toy, and more through a video call.
- Use Your Voice - Record your voice to help a person with speechlessness communicate using a voice that more closely matches their personality (avoiding, for example, a young girl communicating via a speech device that uses the voice of a grown man).
Organize a virtual silent auction with a sign up. View an Example
History and Research Buffs
- Impact History - Expand access to the Smithsonian Museum's massive collection by transcribing historic documents like diaries of prominent Americans. You can also help edit the organization's Wikipedia pages.
- Research It - Known as the world's largest and most popular platform for people-powered research, Zooniverse's goal is to enable research that wouldn't normally be possible. Recent projects include monitoring worldwide seal populations by tagging drone photos and listening for earthquakes by speeding up seismic waves to audible pitches.
- TED Talk Translators - Volunteer to translate and subtitle TED Talks, the short yet inspiring speeches that cover everything from science and business to entertainment and beyond.
- Park Volunteer - Help shape the future of the National Park Service's digital presence by suggesting organization for park websites, naming new site pages, testing a new element that creates species lists and more.
- Decode Justice - Help find and expose human rights violations by sifting through Amnesty International pictures, documents and other information. For example, one of the organization's latest projects involved having volunteers analyze hundreds of thousands of tweets sent to female politicians in India to show the shocking scale of abuse they receive.
- Peacemaking - The United Nation's stated mission is contributing to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. The organization is looking for volunteers for translation, research, project development or management and more.
- Translation - If you're fluent in at least one language other than your native tongue, you can help translate medical texts, crisis responses and the like for humanitarian organizations around the world. Translators Without Borders also uses volunteers for project management, web design and fundraising.
- Advocate - Use your social media to raise funds or awareness for the Red Cross. Advocate for the need for blood, volunteers, disaster relief and more.
Celebrate a birthday with a sign up for gift drop off shifts. View an Example
Readers and Writers
- Public Domain Books - Record yourself reading audiobooks that are in the public domain (written 95 or more years ago) so people can listen to them for free at LibriVox. You don't need prior audiobook recording experience or fancy equipment, just a computer with voice recording capabilities.
- eBooks - Through scanning, proofreading, describing images and more at Bookshare, volunteers can help make eBooks more accessible to people with reading barriers such as dyslexia, blindness and cerebral palsy.
- Free Library Books - The Guttenberg Library of more than 60,000 free eBooks was started by eBook inventor Michael Hart in 1971. Volunteers help proofread new eBooks one page at a time as often as they like. Volunteers also create and distribute CDs and DVDs for people without internet access.
- Help Others Learn - Help narrate audiobooks, or listen to them and provide feedback so dyslexic, blind and visually impaired students will have a better chance to succeed in school.
For and With Kids
- Read Books Together - Storii Time connects children with isolated senior citizens to read books to one another.
- Provide Hope - Provide virtual mentoring and friendship-style support to survivors of child abuse, human trafficking and bullying.
- Help Others Learn - Work with Upchieve to provide one-on-one time with low-income high school students who need helping with everything from math tutoring to college counseling.
- Mentor and Inspire - Mentor a student who wants to join your career field one day.
Schedule virtual coffee with a faith leader with a sign up. View an Example
- Offer Support - Answer texts from people in crisis, helping bring them from a hot moment to a cool, calm place through listening, collaborative problem solving and safety planning. Or provide emotional support to people via online chat. A free online training can be done any time of the day or night so it's easy to fit into your schedule.
Military Veteran and Active Duty Assistance
- Hire Heroes - Help military veterans prepare for life in the private sector via mock interviews, career counseling, transition advice and more.
- Active Mentoring - Share your career advice and mentorship with active-duty military members, veterans and their spouses.
No matter how you choose to volunteer, you're making a difference in your community during these uncertain times. New online volunteer opportunities seem to arise every day, so keep an eye out at local organizations around you!
Sarah Pryor is a journalist, wife, mom and Auburn football fan living in Charlotte, N.C.