Virtual Volunteering For Employees: Don't Forget These Critical ...

Sharing your expertise in a particular space for a group of people or a project, that would benefit from your contribution. Devoting your ‘free time’ to an activity that you find pleasure in. These are definitions that are commonly used for the word ‘volunteering’. In most cases, the elements of ‘free time’ and ‘for free’ are the essence of ‘volunteering’. However, a clear-cut non-subjective definition for the term doesn’t seem to exist. Volunteering can mean and symbolise so much! What is obvious
to all is that the medium through which we volunteer varies immensely for different sectors. This word has not undergone such a drastic change in its meaning prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our immobility during this lockdown has affected many facets of our daily engagements – chores, education, work, recreation etc. In the limited physical spaces which we have been compelled to exist in, many have resorted to newer modes of entertainment. New series, books, movies,
challenges on social media or developing new interests in art, cooking, fitness have been the common ‘lockdown lifestyle’ for most of us. We yearn for an entertaining escape. For some people
who, in previous times, would resort to volunteering for their peace of mind, their usual engagement has been drastically affected. There are other countless reasons that spark volunteerism, and not all are tangible too. This ‘entertaining escape’ isn’t the only thing which influences us to volunteer. There is a sense of accomplishment which one receives when you
‘voluntarily’ do something. In the lockdown which we are adjusting to, the activities listed above may not always serve their purpose. For this reason, there has been a surge in organisations and people providing and seeking virtual volunteering opportunities. The current situation is constantly raising newer complications despite the monotony in our lifestyles. The reasons for the growing interest in volunteering may have sparked from
people’s desire to hone their skills or to be productive, or to receive validation (online) and achieve a sense of accomplishment, or to simply keep themselves busy. For the ones who have always wanted to volunteer but never did so, this time maybe that ‘free time’ which they had referred to every time they’ve postponed it. Since a digital space is the only medium that would facilitate actionable change, many aspects of volunteering too have shifted their modes of operation to digital mediums.
As stated above, the ways in which one can virtually volunteer vary for different sectors. The volunteering opportunities would be practiced differently by different organizations and their inputs would yield different results too. I, the writer of this blog, have only been volunteering remotely by generating content for Way for Life’s upcoming website. Other possibilities of volunteering exist in the form of online sessions, webinars, content writing, fundraising, documentation, networking etc.
As long as you actively search for work, there will always exist a multitude of activities that you can contribute to, even if you can only virtually volunteer for it. It’s obvious that the glee of working together in our actions cannot be replaced nor are the time adjustments or bandwidth
reconnections a thing that is favored, however virtual volunteering has constantly reassured my doubts that humanity can exist despite the absence of physical, human togetherness. What’s been even more pleasant is that the shift to virtual working has forced us to upskill ourselves with
technology – digitalizing our communications, projects, and interventions – which has made the scalability and expansion of our voluntary contributions to a wider audience (who are in need) easier.
The digital shift has made volunteering more accessible too. How long will this last for? Will this be the new norm even when things resume back to normalcy? We are as unsure of this as you may be.
You can join in on our virtual volunteering to either solve the problems you frequently see or share and enhance the benefits which you’ve been fortunate enough to be a recipient of!

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