What is Virtual Volunteering?: Service in the 21st Century

With the year 2015 said and done, the holiday spirit of selflessness and generosity is quickly vanishing from homes, offices, and workspaces worldwide. What better way to perpetuate the atmosphere of giving and express the love and kindness still present within your heart than with a healthy dose of virtual volunteering?

The virtual volunteering movement can be defined as an act of volunteering one’s time to support a cause or aid in a group effort through online based interactions. Several websites we have come to know so well and frequent so often, including Wikipedia, exist as a result of people volunteering their expertise and skills through publicly accessible online platforms.

Since its inception in the 1990’s, the popularity of virtual volunteering has steadily grown, and for good reason. Unlike traditional forms of volunteering that often include physical labor or face to face interactions, virtual volunteering presents many advantages that allow for social impact action to take place in workplace environments and office buildings across the nation.

Like volunteering at a soup kitchen or helping to build a home for the homeless, virtual volunteering targets a need in society and puts people power behind the solution. Careervillage.org, a nonprofit organization that crowdsources career advice for disadvantaged students by asking professionals to volunteer their expertise, exists to improve youth employability and reduce the opportunity gap through the power of virtual skills-based volunteering. Through virtual mentorship, CareerVillage.org will prepare young people for successful futures.

To begin, virtual forms of service destroy physical barriers and allow for any and all people with internet connections to volunteer. Regardless of time or distance, an organization or social movement’s next big wave of helpers are only a click away because the convenient and unrestricted nature of volunteering online allows for workers of all types to participate. Despite how little time one may have in their day to volunteer, online interactions can take place anytime, anywhere, so advice sessions are always possible. In addition, unlike traditional forms of volunteerism that often require full-day commitments, a professional on CareerVillage.org need only set aside approximately 10 minutes to answer a student’s question online in order to contribute.

Furthermore, the “virtual” aspect of virtual volunteering makes any program highly scaleable, often garnering hundreds of volunteers with little to no complications. The internet is, for all intents and purposes, infinite. CareerVillage.org can handle hundreds and thousands of volunteers at a time, each empowered with the ability to impact students’ lives and effectuate change. Such large-scale participation and success is nearly impossible to manage or officiate in traditional forms of volunteerism.

Looking past the logistical advantages of virtual volunteering with CareerVillage.org, one will find that its technologically based methodology also presents emotionally attractive benefits. Initiatives can be tracked very easily, allowing for organizations and corporations to set and achieve goals and celebrate the success together with data proven success. The ability to set goals and celebrate them upon completion is the key to long-term volunteering success.

The benefits of virtual volunteering platforms are self-evident to say the least. Virtual volunteering organizations like CareerVillage now allow for widespread volunteering, and do away with the physical barriers of time and distance. Such organizations are now viable and advantageous community service opportunities for corporations across the globe. Whether it’s the CEO, an intern, or a remote employee, there’s opportunity to change lives with CareerVillage.

David Ohta


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