34 Best Online Volunteering Ideas in 2020

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November 19, 2020

Hi! You found our list of online volunteering ideas!

Online volunteering is ways to dedicate time to philanthropies by using a computer or mobile device. These virtual volunteering ideas allow folks to contribute towards a cause without leaving home or travelling. These ideas are also known as online community service opportunities, virtual service opportunities, and virtual volunteering.

These activities serve a similar purpose as virtual fundraising and can be a great way to do remote team building.

This article contains:

  • online volunteering opportunities for teens
  • ideas for kids to volunteer online
  • online volunteering ideas for students
  • virtual volunteering options for groups
  • remote volunteering opportunities for work

And more ways to help humanity from behind a screen.

Let’s get to it!

List of online volunteering opportunities

From writing letters to deployed soldiers to mentoring developing entrepreneurs to spreading the word about a worthy cause, here is a collection of online community service opportunities you can complete without stepping away from your computer.

1. Kindness Quest (Fully Hosted)

Kindness Quest banner

Kindness Quest is a virtual team building event aimed at spreading gratitude among groups during the holiday season. While bonding with peers, participants give back to the community. For example, participants answer trivia questions that donate kibble to animal shelters, write cards, and find canned goods to donate to food drives. A cheerful host guides this team building for a cause operation.

Learn more about Kindness Quest.

2. Be My Eyes

Be My Eyes is a nonprofit app that matches visually-impaired individuals with sighted volunteers willing to assist with tasks. Both parties download the free app. Volunteers receive video calls when users need help reading instructions, navigating new surroundings, checking expiration dates, or similar activities.

As an added bonus, both parties receive the benefit of human contact via video call, which is a plus, considering many remote volunteer opportunities lack immediate interaction. Besides acting as guides, virtual volunteers can also spend time translating the app into other languages to help the service assist a wider audience.

Volunteer for Be My Eyes.

3. UN Volunteers

The United Nations provides many ways to volunteer online, including opportunities in the following categories:

  • Writing and Editing
  • Art and Design
  • Translation
  • Outreach and Advocacy
  • Teaching and Training
  • Administration

Examples of online community service projects include writing and editing climate change news stories, helping charities develop fundraising strategies, and conducting online English classes for foreign countries. Simply sign up as a virtual volunteer, browse opportunities in areas of interest, and choose a project that matches with the desired weekly commitment hours.

Volunteer for UN Volunteers.

4. Red Cross

The Red Cross advertises a digital advocacy program that outlines multiple ways volunteers can support the Red Cross online. Examples include sharing the Red Cross’ mission across platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, following the organization’s blog, and launching web fundraising efforts to solicit donations from family, friends, and online connections. Of course, the Red Cross also operates donation centers in hundreds of cities, so if you feel comfortable doing so, then you can supplement your virtual volunteering with an in-person blood donation.

Become a digital advocate for the Red Cross.

5. Career Village

Career Village is a nonprofit that connects ambitious students with industry professionals for career counseling. There are different levels of virtual volunteering, from answering questions, to suggesting items on students’ career to do lists, moderating the online community, spreading the word about the site, to more in-depth skills-based pro-bono products.

No matter what the commitment, the contributions of experienced professionals help students learn vital information about careers and map out a professional plan. Because the nonprofit is industry-related and a minimal time commitment, Career Village is one of the best online volunteering opportunities for work.

Volunteer for Career Village.

6. Hire Heroes USA

Hire Heroes USA is another career-based online nonprofit. The beneficiaries of this organization are former military members. Industry professionals help veterans transition into civilian life by providing career coaching and advice. Virtual volunteer responsibilities include mock interviews, guidance with application processes, and follow-up. Most meetings occur via video or phone, meaning you can help from anywhere. Volunteers who opt not to consult directly can help the cause by fundraising and spreading the organization’s mission.

Volunteer for Hire Heroes USA.

7. Soldiers’ Angels

Soldiers’ Angels recruits virtual volunteers from around the world to support service members and military families. Examples of projects include sending cards or letters, throwing virtual baby showers for expectant service members or spouses, creating handmade crafts, and mailing gifts or care packages. Soldiers’ Angels virtual projects make great online volunteering opportunities for groups, since you can easily coordinate a letter-writing or gifting campaign or plan a virtual celebration as a team.

Volunteer for Soldiers’ Angels.

8. Smithsonian

The Smithsonian digital volunteers browse the museum’s massive collections and assist with research projects. Examples of online volunteering opportunities include transcribing collections, identifying images, translating the Encyclopedia of Life project, and adding to Smithsonian-adjacent Wikipedia articles. While some projects need specific expertise, others simply require time and effort from willing and enthusiastic volunteers.

Become a Smithsonian Digital Volunteer.

9. Crisis Text Line

Crisis Text Line is an ideal opportunity for individuals who prefer volunteering via smartphone, although volunteers can log in from computers or laptops as well. The organization provides support to individuals in crisis by training empathetic volunteers who respond to cries for help 24/7.

Crisis counselors learn communication and intervention skills, and aid individuals in need of immediate compassion and support. Counselors dedicate a minimum of four hours per week and 200 hours per year, and this operation is a great fit for folks with availability late at night or early morning.

Volunteer for Crisis Text Line.

10. Translators Without Borders

Translators Without Borders is a perfect opportunity for multilingual individuals hoping to give back to the global community. Volunteers spend time translating communications like medical documents or crisis response texts. The organization also occasionally offers non-translator opportunities such as fundraising drives, project management initiatives, or web designer projects.

Volunteer for Translators Without Borders.

11. TED Translators

TED Translators subtitle TED talks so that wider global audiences can benefit from the knowledge of experts and educators. TED occasionally runs engaging translation contests and offers recognition and rewards. The organization also runs a translation mentorship program that consists of a virtual volunteering opportunity with a certificate.

Become a TED Translator.

12. Tarjimly

Tarjimly matches refugees, asylees, and immigrants with multilingual humanitarians willing to translate and help sharpen language skills. The app connects the beneficiary and helper in a live chat or phone call, and enables parties to send voice notes or documents via text, too. This virtual project helps global transplants navigate services such as medicine, housing, education, and legal affairs, helping the beneficiaries establish lives in new places despite language barriers.

Volunteer with Tarjimly.

13. Amnesty Decoders

Run by Amnesty International, Amnesty Decoders seeks to spot human rights violations on the web. Sample initiatives include flagging abuse aimed at women online, researching details of oil spills, and comparing satellite images to older photographs to verify the destruction of remote villages. Volunteers collaborate to complete individual tasks that add up to massive results.

Work with Amnesty Decoders.

14. Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is an internet resource that provides thousands of free eBooks. The organization often needs proofreaders to ensure that corresponding text matches digitally scanned images to improve the accuracy of the digital libraries. Proofreading occurs one page at a time. No minimum time commitment is necessary, meaning Project Gutenberg is one of the more flexible virtual volunteering opportunities.

Help Project Gutenberg.

15. Adopt a Nursing Home

Adopt a Nursing Home originated during the COVID-19 pandemic as a response to restricted visitation within facilities. However, elder care homes often house residents without family or with family incapable of frequent visits, so a letter from a caring individual helps the elderly feel seen and loved. Simply sign up with your address, and the operating organization matches you up with a nursing home in your area to correspond with.

Participate in Adopt a Nursing Home.

16. Adopt a Grandparent

Rallying behind a similar mission to Adopt a Nursing Home, Adopt a Grandparent is a UK-based virtual service initiative that pairs volunteers with an elderly pen pal. Volunteers video call, swap pictures and stories, and mail letters and postcards to geriatric friends. The program encourages children to participate, with adult guidance, to indulge inhabitants without grandchildren of their own. This aspect makes Adopt a Grandparent one of the better online volunteering opportunities for kids.

Participate in Adopt a Grandparent.

17. Open RMS

Open RMS aims to build an open source electronic medical record system to aid healthcare facilities across the globe, especially in areas with limited resources. The organization recruits developers, testers, technical writers, and translators to perfect the software. If you lack these specific skills, then you can help out by responding to help desk requests or spreading the word about the company’s mission.

Help Open RMS.

18. Trevor Project

Trevor Project is a nonprofit that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth in need of guidance and community. The main virtual volunteering opportunities are serving as a crisis counselor, either via digital messaging or telephone. Volunteers receive training and dedicate a minimum of three hours per week to the cause for one year.

Volunteer with Trevor Project.

19. TeensGive.Org

TeensGive.Org is a nonprofit specially designed for teenagers to offer online tutoring to younger students. This positioning makes the program one of the best online volunteering opportunities for teens. Volunteers register, provide a school ID, receive clearance to begin, then choose a student and start tutoring. Educational sessions occur via laptop or smartphone. TeensGive.Org provides resources and assistance to volunteers, and can even report service hours to mandating organizations and notify teens of award opportunities.

Virtually tutor through TeensGive.Org.

20. Chronic Warriors Org, Inc.

The Chronic Warrior collective connects individuals battling long-term illnesses with caring folks around the globe. This virtual volunteer network aims to garner support for patients fighting chronic conditions by harnessing the power of human connection. The organization runs several initiatives per year, including a holiday card swap, and a campaign where dog-owners send letters and pictures of pups.

Volunteer with Chronic Warriors Org, Inc.

21. Wagging Tales

The Maryland SPCA runs a program called Wagging Tales that enables children to virtually read to shelter pets via scheduled video calls. Because kids get to practice reading skills while interacting with animals, this is one of the best online volunteering opportunities for students. Local libraries and animal organizations often offer similar programs or are open to collaborating on such initiatives, so consider reaching out to local organizations if you are not in Maryland’s time zone.

Read with Wagging Tales.

22. Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts launched a program called Girl Scouts at Home which hosts virtual events to teach badge competencies. The nonprofit hosts these online events with various experts, meaning these virtual events provide great online volunteer opportunities for organizations. Companies and individuals with STEM, outdoors, or arts abilities can sign up to plan a remote event through VolunteerMatch.

Volunteer with Girl Scouts at Home.

23. We Connect the Dots

We Connect the Dots is a not-for-profit organization that champions experiential learning programs, especially those in STEM fields. Virtual volunteering options for adults include remotely judging or mentoring the annual Code-a-Thon, the organization’s version of a virtual hackathon. Ongoing online volunteering opportunities for high school students include becoming a community ambassador by spreading awareness of the importance of education and helping other students develop valuable skills.

Participate in We Connect the Dots.

24. Zooniverse

Zooniverse is an online database that gives regular folks the opportunity to participate in real research initiatives. Disciplines span subjects such as arts, climate, history, language, medicine, nature, and various sciences. Sample projects include classifying species caught on wildlife cameras, counting penguins in remote regions via webcam, and labeling recordings of baby sounds. Simply pick a project, sign up to help out, and contribute towards the eureka moment.

Volunteer with Zooniverse.

25. UpChieve

UpChieve pairs students in under-served districts and low-income areas with online tutors for anytime academic help. The platform is flexible, so you can volunteer as your schedule allows. UpChieve will text volunteers when a student needs assistance, and volunteers can log into an internet-enabled device to help, or can leave it up to another volunteer to answer the call.

Volunteer with UpChieve.

26. StoriiTime

StoriiTime accepts signups from children under 13 and adults over 50. The elderly and young participants meet up on video call to take turns reading stories to each other. Kids hone and practice reading skills, and elders receive company. Both groups benefit from human connection. StoriiTime is a great volunteering project for demographics that might not qualify for other opportunities.

Read with StoriiTime.

27. Humanitarian Data Exchange

When responding to natural or man made disasters, relief workers and humanitarians need quick access to important information. Yet many of the needed resources are in PDF form and are difficult to quickly parse. Humanitarian Data Exchange virtual volunteers gather and enter this data into databases so that rescue workers can easily find necessary information and speedily respond.

Volunteer with Humanitarian Data Exchange.

28. BPeace

BPeace enables professionals to offer virtual career coaching to populations in countries emerging from wars, with a special focus on women entrepreneurs. Business experts deliver advice by way of remote consulting sessions. Time commitments vary from two to eight hours per week for a couple of months at a time.

Volunteer with BPeace.

29. Grow Movement

Grow Movement matches business experts from around the globe with burgeoning entrepreneurs in Africa. Virtual volunteers work via Skype, email, and phone call to help aspiring business owners in developing countries develop industry skills. The program duration lasts six months and at least 12 mentoring sessions, and focuses on areas such as finance, marketing, strategy, and creative problem solving.

Volunteer with Grow Movement.

30. Doe Network

An ideal choice for true crime buffs, Doe Network is a 100% volunteer-run site that gathers information about missing persons. The Network aims to bring attention to ongoing cases by gaining attention for stories through the website, social media, and professional media outlets, and identifying potentially involved persons who may know vital information. Volunteers can help by submitting credible tips and sharing the stories to expand the reach to people who may be able to provide further insight.

Help the Doe Network.

31. Audiopedia

Audiopedia empowers women in developing countries by promoting literacy and education. The organization prompts experts to answer questions about topics like health, childcare, business, and nutrition. Virtual volunteers proofread and translate the content into multiple languages, design artwork and draft correspondence, program open-source software, or help spread the nonprofit’s mission.

Volunteer with Audiopedia.

32. Mozilla

Mozilla, the company behind Firefox, is a nonprofit organization with a mission to make the internet accessible and open to all. The company offers virtual volunteering opportunities for techies and non-techies alike, including coding, translating, and responding to user help questions.

Volunteer with Mozilla.

33. PATH

PATH, People Assisting the Homeless, aims to reduce homelessness around the world. The organization offers several remote volunteer opportunities, including blanket drives, researching and writing posts about topics related to homelessness, and data entry.

Volunteer with PATH.

34. WhyHunger

WhyHunger battles food scarcity by connecting individuals with food pantry services. The organization hosts an open source database of community pantries called the National Find Food Database. You can help WhyHunger expand the database by adding, maintaining, and updating entries to the list.

Help WhyHunger.

Conclusion

Inconveniences like busy schedules, physical distance, and limited mobility often prevent folks from giving back to the community. With the abundance of virtual service opportunities in existence, volunteering from home is easier than ever. By searching online databases and browsing the options on this list, you can find a cause that suits your schedule and commitment level, and better humanity without leaving your couch.

Next, check out our list of virtual field trip ideas.

FAQ: Online Volunteering Opportunities

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about online volunteering opportunities.

What are online volunteering opportunities?

Online volunteering opportunities are virtual community service projects that individuals can join via computer or smartphone. These online community service opportunities enable folks to volunteer from home or work without needing to travel to a physical volunteering location.

Why might a group volunteer virtually?

There are many reasons that a group or an individual may volunteer virtually. Online service opportunities accommodate folks who want to support causes but may live far from the charity’s headquarters or volunteering centers. Virtual volunteering also serves individuals with hectic schedules who may not have time to travel to sites at designated times, but wish to volunteer at odd hours that suit personal schedules.

How can I volunteer from home?

There are many opportunities for individuals to volunteer from home. Examples of virtual service activities include:

  • Be My Eyes
  • UN Volunteers
  • Career Village
  • Soldiers’ Angels
  • Crisis Text Line
  • Tarjimly
  • Amnesty Decoders
  • Zooniverse
  • UpChieve

If you possess professional skills like social media marketing, graphic design, software programming, content writing, administrative organization, project management, or a law license, then you can find many online opportunities that enable you to contribute your abilities towards a worthy cause.

How do I find online volunteering opportunities?

The best way to find online volunteering opportunities is to use an internet search engine. Here are some of the best virtual volunteering engagement networks:

Another useful approach is to navigate to the website of your favorite philanthropy, and search for virtual volunteering tasks in the get involved section.

What is virtual volunteering?

Virtual volunteering is providing community-driven services online via platforms like email, Zoom and software. Virtual volunteering is a synonym of online volunteering.

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Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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