Volunteering today come in many forms. Talking about volunteering we usually imagine an in-person working in a community. However, volunteer today can be more than being physically in a place. In the digital age being “in person” is not required anymore.


What Is Virtual Volunteering?

Online volunteering allows organizations and volunteers to team up to commit your time and services away from the physical place. You can be anywhere in the world and use any device you have. Additionally, virtual volunteering gives you an opportunity to use your time as effectively as possible: you create your own schedule. So, you don’t depend on your boss or other people, who are involved in the process. The only rule – stick to the terms.

Virtual volunteering is more convenient than regular one, because digital volunteers serve causes both near and far. These services have a wild range of occupation. Here some of them.



Where Did Virtual Volunteering Start?

It’s difficult to say exactly, when virtual volunteering has appeared. Probably, the first organization that established this program was Project Gutenberg. The program was created to digitize, archive and distribute written cultural works. The collection involved books such a famous writers as Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Mark Twain.

In 1995 a nonprofit organization called Impact Online began promoting the idea of virtual volunteering. In 1996 Impact Online received a grant from the James Irvine Foundation to promote the practice to nonprofit organizations in the United States. After one year, the Virtual Volunteering Project turned into VolunteerMatch, one of the biggest online databases that match volunteers to organizations.

Today finding a volunteer opportunity is more than easy. You should just go online to search and apply. Virtual meeting space and online training is not a dream anymore. It’s digital age reality.

Why Is Virtual Volunteering So Popular Now?

There’s no denying that the Internet has became an integral part of everyday life. It gives us an opportunity to do the same things as people did a lot of years ago, but much faster. In addition, we can improve skills without visiting a school. Using technologies is not a problem anymore too.  Because of that, volunteering is no longer limited to just physical labor or attendance.

For instance, book-lovers have helped to copy all the works of L.Tolstoy and made them available for all the Internet users and bird-watchers have helped to track bird populations and migration patterns with eBird.


One of the reason why online volunteering has became so popular is that nonprofit organizations need more help than ever to support their everyday operations and to expand. In this way they can grow faster and broaden their impact.

Online volunteering for people, who take part in the program, is a good experience and nice way to spend their free time. Between work, family, commuting, and the general chaos of daily life, virtual volunteering could be the solution that many volunteers and organizations need.

What Are the Benefits of Virtual Volunteering?

Online volunteering is both beneficial for users and companies. Researcher Jayne Cravens has studied the benefits of virtual volunteering in her book. In this work the author highlights both individual and institutional benefits of digital volunteering.

Benefits for a volunteer:

  • More opportunities to volunteer for multiple causes and organizations
  • More time to volunteer
  • Flexibility in scheduling, location, and level of involvement
  • A unique outlet for skills or passions that aren’t met by physical volunteering
  • More positions for disabled or very remote volunteers
  • Fulfilling education or career volunteer milestones

Benefits for an organization:

  • More volunteer positions that cover more tasks and skills
  • Increased access to more qualified volunteers
  • More ways to save money on operating costs
  • Forward momentum on websites, social media, email, and more
  • Professional-level communications, branding, and outreach

How Can You Become a Virtual Volunteer?

Becoming an online volunteer is easier than it seems. Most non-profitable projects are often looking for more people, who can help. Finding the best virtual volunteer position for you is just a matter of knowing where to look. However, the most important thing is to take into account your interests. Whether you are crazy about sport or want to help poor people in different parts of the world, you need to narrow your area of focus.

Figuring out, what type of service you would like to provide is also will be helpful. For instance, it could be social media management, copywriting, or even phone outreach. Use databases to get connected to potential openings and find legitimate organizations. These websites will help you to find the best option:

Don’t forget that if you want to work for a specific organization, you can write them an email and try to apply, a lot of projects need free hands. Virtual volunteering provides an outlet for many different skills and passions. It also gives you a nice working experience. So, don’t waste your time, become a virtual volunteer.


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