Guest Contributor: Joanna Tanger
For many people, working remotely has become a way of life. The pandemic changed how we work, with 57% of those currently working remotely stating that they had rarely or never worked from home prior to 2020. While the increase in working remotely originated from safety concerns during the pandemic, today’s workers cite a preference for remote work as their driving influence rather than health concerns.
In fact, according to Pew Research Center (2022), “76% of workers who indicate that their workplace is available to them say a major reason why they are currently teleworking all or most of the time is that they prefer working from home.” With more people recognizing the benefits of working remotely, is it really a surprise that virtual volunteering has increased in popularity as well?
Virtual volunteering means that many busy professionals are able to contribute their skill set where it is needed most, without geographical constraints. In fact, BORGEN Magazine (2022) states, "Remote volunteering may even be the future of volunteering." There are numerous ways to volunteer online, and VolunteerMatch makes it easy to find virtual volunteering opportunities that align with your interests and skills. Below are three options to get you started.
1. Teach English with Intercambio’s Online Program, CC English
Since 2001, Intercambio has connected more than 5,000 volunteer teachers with more than 10,000 adult English learners through one-on-one or group classes. During COVID19, Intercambio created CC English, the organization’s online English program, to expand their reach. Intercambio provides access to their easy-to-use curriculum, practical training, and all the support you need to make it fun and easy to teach English remotely.
CC English provides schedule flexibility for both teachers and students. When you become a volunteer, you’ll join a community of English teachers who you can ask questions and share insights with through regular trainings and workshops. If you’re 18+, live in the United States, and can commit to two 90-minute sessions per week for at least three months, you’re eligible to become a volunteer teacher.
To set you up for success as a CC English teacher, you’ll have access to a full set of easy-to-use resources, including:
- Self-paced training, including videos and resources you can access any time
- Digital versions of Intercambio’s Confidence and Connections curriculum
- Tools to track and manage your student's progress
- Online events and discussion forums, which allow you to connect and share ideas with Intercambio’s teacher trainers and other volunteer teachers
The best part? You’ll learn just as much from your student as they will learn from you!
2. Become a Volunteer Crisis Counselor for Crisis Text Line
Volunteer Crisis Counselors at Crisis Text Line work remotely on their computers, answering texts from people in crisis. Volunteers create a dialogue with texters who are looking for help, de-escalating the crisis at hand and providing compassionate, non-judgmental support using active listening, collaborative problem-solving, and safety planning. Through this vital support, volunteer Crisis Counselors make a positive impact on the mental health journeys of those in need.
So how do you sign up? To become a Crisis Counselor volunteer, you will need to complete their free online mental health training. Over the course of 30 hours, you’ll learn reflective listening, collaborative problem-solving, and crisis management. Once they've completed training, volunteer Crisis Counselors commit to volunteering four hours per week until 200 hours are reached.
3. Write to Seniors Through CareGivers Caring Cards
For those unable to make the time commitment of volunteering regularly, why not consider creating greeting cards for The CareGivers clients?
The main objective of the CareGivers Caring Cards for Seniors Project is to help ease social isolation among The CareGivers’ clients by sending cards. Most of their clients do not have much social support, so loneliness, anxiety, and depression can become a struggle. Volunteers offer a simple gesture: A card to a senior, to show them that someone is thinking of them.
Parker, K., Horowitz, J. M., & Minkin, R. (2022, February 22). COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape work in America. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2022/02/16/covid-19-pandemic-continues-to-reshape-work-in-america/
The Borgen Project. (2022, December 1). Remote volunteering: the future of volunteering. BORGEN Magazine. https://www.borgenmagazine.com/remote-volunteering/
About Joanna Tanger
Joanna started her career as a Business English teacher in Prague, Czech Republic, and has nearly 15 years of experience managing marketing, technology, fundraising, and strategic communications for international nonprofits, higher education institutions, and start-ups. She is the founder of Joanna Tanger Consulting LLC, a digital strategy firm that works with clients across the United States. Joanna is TEFL certified, and has a B.A. in cultural anthropology from Bard College, a graduate certificate in digital marketing from Cornell University, and an M.A. in digital communication from Johns Hopkins University.