When we hear the word “volunteer,” it’s easy to imagine someone filing paperwork, making phone calls or performing other in-person tasks. But the internet has opened up many jobs to virtual volunteers, including coming up with creative gift ideas for volunteers. Other tasks volunteers can perform remotely include:
- Web design
- Data entry
- Fundraising phone calls
- Social media posting and management
- App-building or maintenance
- Volunteer management
- Writing and editing
- Graphic design
- Video creation
Discover the many benefits of virtual volunteers—and how to get them involved in your organization—with these helpful tips.
Benefits of virtual volunteering
Virtual volunteering has advantages for everyone, especially in these socially distant times.
Organizations benefit from:
- The ability to access professional or specialized skills
- Potential cost savings
Benefits for volunteers include:
- Flexible scheduling
- Volunteer jobs that fit their specialized skill set
- The ability to volunteer from a remote location
- Opportunities for volunteers with disabilities
How to make the most of virtual volunteers
Knowing the advantages of virtual volunteers is one thing. Finding and managing them is another. Try these tips:
Tip 1: Determine needs:
Decide what you need volunteers to do and what can be accomplished virtually. Does your website need a refresh? Are you looking for people to call potential donors? Knowing your exact needs will make it easier to reach out.
Tip 2: Create job descriptions:
Much like with paid work, to find someone qualified to meet your needs, you’ll want to create a description of the position, including the skills required and hours needed per week, month or year.
Tip 3: Reach out:
Since virtual volunteers can reside anywhere in the world, recruiting may be more involved than what you’re used to. In addition to reaching out to past volunteers, try posting volunteer opportunities:
- On your website and social media
- In your e-newsletter
- On sites like VolunteerMatch® or Create the Good®
Use these gift ideas for volunteers as a way of connecting. Print a URL to all your volunteer opportunities (both in-person and virtual) on a pen or a Hashtag Mint Tin to remind people to visit your site for details.
Tip 4: Provide a manager
Because virtual volunteers can be working in different cities—and even on the other side of the globe—they may feel disconnected from the rest of the organization. Providing a manager to check in on them periodically and answer any questions ensures your projects stay on task. Use volunteer giveaways, like planners, to help virtual volunteers track important dates and milestones.
Tip 5: Show appreciation
Volunteers with professional skill sets can save you a lot of money, allowing you to put that funding back into the community. That’s why creative gift ideas for volunteers are so important. A pair of blue-light blocking glasses can be a great gift for screen users, while wireless ear buds come in handy for those taking calls.
A virtually perfect opportunity
Virtual volunteering lets you discover skills and people that you might otherwise not have access to. With some careful planning and creative gift ideas for volunteers, you can turn those skill sets into a better community.
VolunteerMatch is a registered trademark of Impact Online, Inc. CORPORATION CALIFORNIA 550 Montgomery Street, 8th Floor San Francisco CALIFORNIA 94111
Create the Good is a registered trademark of AARP non-profit corporation D.C. 601 E STREET, N.W. WASHINGTON D.C. 20049
“Managing, Screening, and Approving Virtual Volunteers During COVID-19.” Raptor Technologies, 2020, Web. 21 Sept. 2020. raptortech.com/resources/blog/managing-screening-and-approving-virtual-volunteers-during-covid-19.