Let’s discuss virtual volunteering. It’s not a panacea for the recent nose-dive in volunteer numbers many VIOs (Volunteer Involving Organisations) are experiencing across the globe since COVID. It can help VIOs find as-yet-untapped, skilled volunteers.
We’re talking volunteering tasks which are completed, partially or completely, remotely. So, in addition to using our most excellent partnerships and endorsements functionality on Be Collective, we think virtual volunteering can help you widen your volunteer pool.
Let’s start with: in-person volunteering will always be crucial to help form connections and provide assistance. That said, virtual volunteering certainly has a place in your tool kit to find skills and support that may be otherwise unavailable in your local area. It can connect you to people you would not have reached through physical proximity. Sometimes, virtual volunteering is treated like a little wall flower – loved but overlooked at the dance. So, we've compiled a few reasons why you might consider adding it as an option (where appropriate) within your volunteer opportunities.
First: widen your pool (and skill) of volunteers. Some volunteering roles (mentoring, social media, fundraising, website audits, writing) can be done anywhere. As we always say, 'hire the best person for the job' so why wouldn't you consider someone on the other side of the country if they offer the right skills? Finding a role hard to fill? Why not give a virtual candidate a go?
Second: we're all about inclusion and accessibility. Some volunteers may be deterred from volunteering for personal (and valid) reasons - whether it be physical, psychological, cultural - just to name a few. Let's not make access a hurdle and embrace goodwill on offer. Let’s make the decision to participate easy, welcoming and safe. Who knows? You may benefit from broader experiences and thinking!
Third: improve the volunteer experience. It can be rather convenient to allocate a couple of hours each week to volunteer. Turn up the convenience factor if a volunteer doesn't need to travel. A lack of travel time may result in greater willingness to participate in programs for longer periods of time (hello cost savings too!).
There are plenty more reasons - but we won't bore you with too many. Give virtual volunteering a go. It might just help you find more volunteers with different perspectives, deeper skills and for longer!