There's been a seismic shift in how we approach our daily routines due to current circumstance. Many of us have had to come to terms with the new normal, where everything from working to buying essentials to socialising has to be done over the internet. This includes the way we give back to the causes we care about or virtual volunteering. Time magazine notes that we are now online more than ever, with web use rocketing by as much as 35%. Luckily, the crisis isn't much of a deterrent to how we yearn to give back, as there are many opportunities available online that allow us to volunteer from the comfort of our own homes. Ross Britain previously highlighted how volunteering can do so much in inspiring people, and if you want to donate your time to a cause that is close to your heart, here's how you can get started with doing it virtually:

Do some research on volunteer programmes

As with anything, the key to success lies in being prepared. James Gonzales's tips for professionals working from home notes that since many of us have more time than we know what to do with, we can make productive use of it by being proactive and volunteering to do more. You may want to allot some extra time learning about the virtual volunteering programmes available, so you can make an informed decision on which cause or charity you want to focus on. You may opt to do more research on already established programmes like the United Nations and Red Cross, or you can find out more about lesser-known initiatives that could use a bit more support.

Share your personal story about a meaningful organisation

If you want to convince other people to do virtual volunteering without sounding preachy, you may want to share your personal story about how a meaningful organisation has changed your life. You never know, you might just touch someone's heart and persuade them to take action as well.

See if any local platforms speak to you, if not, come up with one

If there are smaller charities within your vicinity that may not have a formal virtual volunteer programme just yet, you can use this as an opportunity to lend a helping hand and assist them in setting one up. You may want to do research first about volunteer listings that are available in your area, but if nothing speaks to you, then you can reach out directly to the organisation you are interested in and ask them how you can be of help to them with the skills you have.

Use social media platforms for good

Many people are now spending more time on social media than ever before, so you may want to take this chance to leverage your network and spread the word about your organisation of choice. Operation Warm explains that spreading the word online about your favourite nonprofit charities is already considered volunteer work. You can opt to share important announcements from those organisations or you can craft your own posts to inform people about what they do.

Consider becoming a volunteer responder

You may also want to volunteer your time to help out organisations that directly give assistance to people in need of support during the pandemic. The Royal Voluntary Service has an ongoing programme that aims to supplement existing voluntary support within communities, take the burden off NHS services, and help people to stay healthy. There is a variety of volunteering options available. You're given the chance to choose whether you want to assist in collecting and delivering essential supplies, transporting patients to medical appointments, providing telephone support, and so much more. There is even an option to offer peer support, in which you'll be able to serve as a 'listening ear' to people currently struggling with the repercussions of COVID-19.

Abigail Rooney is a freelance writer whose passion lies in spreading the word about underserved communities. When she's not typing away and wrangling words, she spends her free time baking pies and practising yoga.
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