How you can stay engaged and volunteer from home

March 20, 2020
Written by
Twilion

Stay engaged and volunteer from home

Now more than ever we’re hearing that people want to stay connected to and support their communities. With the cancellation of non-essential group activities among cities, corporations, schools, etc., volunteer support is dropping by 80% or more for many nonprofits. Virtual volunteering can help fill some of this gap and provide a way for people to make a positive impact from their homes.

Not only is virtual volunteerism a safe and creative way to help, it can also provide a much needed break from a long day of video-calls that so many of us are experiencing in this new environment.

We realize that sometimes it’s hard to know where to start, and that’s why we’ve compiled a list of recommended virtual volunteer opportunities across a variety of skill sets and needs. If you have found additional virtual opportunities, please share them with us at wepledge@twilio.com and we’ll add them to our list.

Mentorship and career advice

Career Village: Give students free personalized career advice. Use your skills and knowledge to answer career questions for young people with less access to career advice and resources who want to be you when they grow up. Young people can post any question about any career, and you can answer them.

CodePath: Provide insights about the tech industry to computer science students from under-represented communities. CodePath hosts a number of virtual tech panels that cover popular topics/questions among students such as "Startup vs. Corporate: Where to Start Your Career?". Many of the student engineers are looking to find their way into the tech industry and these panels help answer the burning questions they have when planning.

Empower Work: Support people as they grapple with some of their biggest challenges at work. Sometimes that might mean navigating a difficult conversation with a boss; other times it might mean weighing the pros and cons of leaving a job. It’s truly amazing how one conversation can help people feel heard, supported, and empowered.

MicroMentor: Volunteer your time to help entrepreneurs from around the globe succeed by providing general strategy advice or just being a supporter to bounce ideas off of. See how this service has helped so many people and small businesses in a variety of ways.

Techntonica: Support Techtonica’s mission to provide free tech training, laptops, living stipends, and job placement to women and non-binary adults in need in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lead practice interviews for apprentices, mentor teams during virtual hackathons, or lead a basic coding workshop.

Volunteer Vision: Pass on your knowledge as a mentor via video chat and through Volunteer Vision’s eLearning programs. Their digital mentoring software supports over 100 charitable organizations in 40+ countries. Mentors and mentees can choose from 120 mentoring modules in 3 languages. Learning modules are defined and come with provided content.

Jeff Lawson volunteers with Career Village

Jeff Lawson volunteers with Career Village

Global and local community support

One Degree: Increase access to life-affirming resources in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Gainesville, FL by updating the existing database of community resources in these areas. This includes online research, calling organizations for information and data-entry work. This work is crucial to our commitment to provide up-to-date information for our families and individuals that need community resources.

AgeUK: Help combat loneliness by talking with an older person. Be part of your community and provide vital support for older residents. Help raise money so more older people can get the help they deserve and need. Whatever you choose to do, and however much time you have to give, you'll be making an incredible difference for older people at a time in their lives when they need help the most.

Be My Eyes: Lend your eyes to solve tasks big and small - anything from checking expiry dates, distinguishing colors, reading instructions or navigating new surroundings - helping blind and low-vision people lead more independent lives via a video app.

Crisis Text Line: Crisis Text Line is the free, 24/7 text line for people in crisis in the United States. The service is powered by volunteer Crisis Counselors who work remotely — anywhere with a computer and secure internet connection works.

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) Mapping: Map out places in the world that are literally not on the map to help humanitarian organizations do their life-saving work.

Librivox: Help record free public domain audiobooks for access to all, in all languages. Readers are free to choose the books they wish to record.

Tarjimly: Improve the lives of refugees and the efficiency of humanitarian services by eliminating language barriers via an on-demand language access app.

The Trevor Project: Answer chat messages or texts online from young people who are struggling with issues such as coming out, LGBTQ identity, depression, and suicide. Or conduct research related to our current local, state, and federal campaigns that advance laws and policies supporting LGBTQ youth in crisis.

Tarjimly language volunteering

Tarjimly enables you to translate for refugees remotely

COVID-19 Direct Response

Helpwithcovid.com: A clearing house for projects and volunteers that want to help with the COVID-19 crisis.

NY Technology SWAT Team: New York State is launching technology driven products with leading global tech companies to accelerate and amplify the response to COVID-19. Serve a particular need for professionals with experience in product management, software development / engineering, hardware deployment & end-user support, data science, operations management, design, or other similar areas.

Volunteer opportunity search engines

Many charitable organizations are proactively preparing for and quickly reacting to a new set of needs from the people and communities they serve. These projects require specific skill sets like updating websites, reinforcing existing infrastructure to receive an influx of new donations, consulting on best practices regarding tools, remote work and marketing strategy, and translating pre-existing materials. A few excellent resources to search for and find opportunities serving nonprofits with these needs and beyond are Catchafire, All For Good, Volunteer Match, and Taproot+.

Cash is still king

Not every nonprofit offers remote volunteering, but every nonprofit is feeling the financial crunch from COVID-19 as they work to support their communities and program beneficiaries. If you can contribute financially, donations are always a welcome way to support the causes you care about.

This list is just the beginning, and we always encourage people to support charitable causes of personal importance. If you’re working with a nonprofit in need of virtual volunteers and would like to be added to this list, please reach out to us at wepledge@twilio.com.