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10 Unique Online Volunteering Opportunities That Can Make an Impact

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During the last two years of COVID-related lockdown and social distancing, NGOs and other volunteering organizations (including some Open Social clients!) have been increasingly relying on their online communities of action to create virtual volunteering opportunities around the world.

If you haven’t come across some of these initiatives yet, get ready to be inspired by the 10 unique online volunteering opportunities below.

1. Create environmental awareness with Pachamama Alliance

Pachamama Alliance uses its Open Social online community to create movement-building around the world through educating and inspiring individuals to find ways to bring forth a thriving, just and sustainable world.

Members of this community can take online courses and learn how to do environmental movement-building in their region. They can also participate in online discussions to help tackle environmental issues along with experts.

pachamama alliance

2. Contribute scientific research with Zooniverse

Zooniverse is an online platform that focuses on people-powered research made possible by the internet. Online members of ‘the Zooniverse’ can use the platform to help identify endangered animals, classify galaxy systems, transcribe Shakespearean manuscripts and more.

3. Work with the United Nations from home

At the time of writing, United Nations Volunteering lists 142 online volunteering opportunities throughout its network. These virtual volunteering opportunities range from proofreading research articles or creating illustrations for educational content, to conducting online English classes in India or helping raise COVID-19 vaccine awareness in Malaysia.

“Online volunteering is fast, easy – and most of all, effective. When skilled, passionate individuals join forces online with great organizations working toward sustainable development goals, everyone wins.” – United Nations

4. Provide translation services with Translators Without Borders

Translators Without Borders asks online volunteers to provide translation services to international organizations that focus on crisis relief, health and education.

Any volunteer who fluently speaks at least one language other than their native language is welcome.

5. Support a sustainable circular food economy with Our Food Future

Using Open Social’s Crowd Innovation tools, Our Food Future allows members to directly contribute to sustainable food initiatives through online discussions, ideation processes, public voting and offering direct support to projects.

Our Food Future Groups

6. Crowd-source impactful policy ideas with Policy Kitchen

Policy Kitchen uses the same Crowd Innovation tool to crowd-sources ideas for more sustainable, fair and inclusive government policies using their Open Social community. Members can contribute ideas to specific policy challenges that are eventually worked into real policy frameworks, reports or publications.

7. Fight for human rights with Amnesty International

Amnesty Decoders is an innovative platform where volunteers from anywhere in the world can use their computers or phones to help human rights researchers sift through pictures, media and information that might help Amnesty International track, document and report human rights violations around the globe.

8. Create a better internet with Mozilla

Did you know that the organization behind the popular web browser Firefox is a non-profit committed to making the internet a safer, more secure and more open and free?

The Mozilla Foundation asks members of their online community to contribute to campaigns or activities that will make the web a better place (regardless of whether you have technical skills or not!).

9. Help people in distress with the Crisis Hotline

The Crisis Text Line offers free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. If you’re at least 18 and can commit to volunteering four hours each week, you can apply to be trained for free and start supporting the text line in no time.

10. Become a museum curator with the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex and invites online volunteers from around the world to help transcribe historical documents, identify and tag archival photographs and contribute to their natural history Encyclopedia of Life.

Learn how to attract, activate and retain your volunteers online

With years of experience helping organizations maximize their volunteering efforts, we at Open Social know exactly what challenges they face when setting up, managing, and growing their online communities. Using these insights we created the free downloadable Online Volunteer Community Guide.

In this guide, you can discover the secrets of online community KPIs and meaningful metrics, choosing platforms that volunteers can trust, how to empower volunteers online, create organic conversation and much more.

Download your free guide here

Volunteer Guide Social Image


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