What is Online Volunteering?

Man typing on his laptop with a volunteer icon on the screen

Online volunteering is the donation of time and effort over the internet for volunteerism focused on non-profits or charitable organizations through websites that provide opportunities to donate time online for various causes such as animal welfare, poverty relief, and environmental conservation.

Online volunteering is one of the fastest-growing trends in workplace culture.  Almost everyone today knows the benefits of volunteering their time for a good cause. You feel good about yourself, you help others, and you’re, of course giving back to your community.

But not everyone has the ability or opportunity to go out and volunteer in person. Thankfully, many online volunteering opportunities offer the same great experience without all of the hassles!

Types of Online Volunteering

There are different types of online volunteering. One is virtual volunteering, where you only help on your computer, using a website that lets you type and work independently. Many people use these two terms interchangeably.

To become a virtual volunteer, you need to find an online community of volunteers that share common goals and interests, to help with web-based projects. This type of volunteering meshes computer work with people skills and communication. Communication must be built into the process from the start.

You can also become an active volunteer helping in person by helping others. You can also do online volunteering as a team, in which the number of people involved is limited and more people can be involved in this kind of online volunteering, helping with all types of projects.

One type of online volunteering is microvolunteering. You are volunteering for particular tasks such as writing a letter or researching a web page with micro-volunteering. Microvolunteering differs from other online volunteering because it is very specific and involves a small amount of work.

How to Find a Good Cause to Volunteer For

A common question is how to find a good cause to volunteer for online? To find a good cause and make sure that you are helping effectively, you should research the particular organization you are volunteering online for. You should check if they have a good track record.

There is a huge advantage if you are interested in the particular cause you are volunteering for, which is that you want to give back. You might also want to find out more about the organization and what they do.

Here is when a CV site, social networking sites, or some online communities can help you. An excellent place to start online volunteering is through a blog or website of the organization, and reading their mission statement will familiarize yourself with it before committing your time.

In my experience, the odds are better that you follow through if you use a very focused website. The reason is that you are more likely to be passionate about this type of volunteering because it falls under your area of interest.

To get even more involved, try contacting the organization directly and offering to help. It could lead to an exciting conversation and begin a partnership with the organization through online volunteering and perhaps even other ways as well.

What Can You Expect When Volunteering?

When doing online volunteering, you can expect different things depending on what you do. If you agree to help with a project that is not finished or under development, you can expect that you will get some contact from the organization before getting started.

Suppose you are doing online volunteering for animal welfare, catering to animals in need, or an environmental protection organization. In that case, you can expect to get at least a few introductory emails asking if it is okay to contact you and thanking you for your interest. You can also expect to be able to contact the organization for more information.

If you are doing online volunteering for an organization, you will likely get a message saying you have been given an assignment. It will most probably include directions and a deadline, and then you will have to report what you did when the project is over. You can often do your reporting online.

Whatever type of online volunteering you choose to do, make sure that you are comfortable with it. You shouldn’t just do it for the sake of doing it but rather because you have something to give back, and that is why this is a good way for you to give back.

How to Become a More Valuable Online Volunteer

It is important to think about how you can become a more valuable online volunteer for your help to be more effective. It is all about the attitude that you show when doing online volunteering.

If you offer your service, try to be enthusiastic and helpful instead of just saying what needs to be done without thinking. This will make the organization notice you or the person who referred you much better, and they are likely to contact you again if they ever need help again.

Also, when doing online volunteering, try to be as attentive as you can. This is especially important if you are not native or fluent in the language of the organization you are volunteering for. Don’t let this stop you from offering help – you can still be an effective volunteer if you try even a little bit.

Tips for Successful Online Volunteering

Online volunteering entails that you have enough time and patience. Therefore it is essential to distinguish between what needs to be done and what does not.

Start small, going on just one or two projects until you know how much work you can handle.

Research the organization you are working for, get a copy of their mission statement, and read their website. This will help you familiarize yourself with them so that whatever help they need, you will have information on which to base your answer.

If the task is under development, make sure that you are actually willing to tackle the assignment. Otherwise, it can be very frustrating.

Be mindful that the organization you are volunteering for will require you to be honest in your report, so if there is something that you don’t do well or if you didn’t do something, it is your responsibility to tell them.

What Should I Look Out For?

Although online volunteering is a great way to find and join volunteering programs that are of interest to you, you should remember that not all organizations are the same. If an organization asks for a lot of personal information from you, such as your address, phone number, or financial details, it might be a good idea to check it out before getting involved with them.

This can also help you in terms of making sure that the project is legitimate. It would be best if you also looked for reviews on different websites. It is important to look for reviews because they help you get information about the organization’s quality, approach, and other things that might be useful for you.


Online volunteering is an excellent way of helping out if you are looking to do something worthwhile but are not able or willing to travel to a particular place – or even have a job that allows you time off work.

Online volunteering can also be beneficial if it is combined with other volunteering opportunities. This can result in an excellent way of managing your time and helping out at the same time.

Finally, virtual volunteering can help your career because of the experience that you get while doing it. This experience can be very helpful when looking for a new job.

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