Additional free time to devote to worthy organizations and causes is one of the joys of retirement. With in-person volunteer positions currently limited, seniors are seeking creative ways to give back to their community. Many are turning to technology to make a difference. So, instead of leading circle time at their local library, volunteers can now use a video conferencing platform like Skype or Zoom.
Not a new concept, virtual volunteering allows volunteers to make a difference without leaving home. And, as more organizations embrace technology, the need for virtual volunteers will only continue to grow. Finding senior-friendly virtual volunteer opportunities is easier than you might think. Read on to learn more.
Benefits of Volunteering
The saying “The more you give, the more you receive,” definitely applies to volunteering. In fact, several studies have linked volunteering with lower rates of depression, stress, anger, and anxiety. Research also shows that volunteers appear to be happier and healthier too. Volunteering can also be an important way for seniors to rediscover a sense of purpose, as well as grow their self-confidence.
Related: Benefits of Volunteering in Your Senior Years >>
10 Virtual Volunteer Ideas
Acting as an e-mentor to a high school student, or narrating a book for a child struggling with dyslexia – there are so many creative ways to serve as a virtual volunteer. There are plenty of positions available – to find your match quickly, be sure to search based on your skills, interests, location, and time availability. We have rounded up ten organizations – listed below – that you can get started with:
Create the Good
Developed by AARP, Create the Good matches seniors with volunteer opportunities. According to their website, there are more than 7,000 opportunities available, as well as numerous DIY service projects. Seniors can sort volunteer opportunities based on location, skills, and interests.
Points of Light Foundation
Founded in 1990, the Points of Light Foundation is largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. In addition to listing virtual volunteer opportunities and DIY service projects, the Points of Light website also lists local chapter affiliates – perfect if you want to impact your community.
If volunteering for a nonprofit is important to you, visit the Idealist’s website. Based in New York City, Idealist began in 1995 with a mission to connect nonprofit organizations with volunteers from across the country. Search by location, type, causes, and more.
Translators Without Borders
Parlez-vous Français? Sprechen sie Deutsch? Nonprofit Translators Without Borders relies on multilingual volunteers to provide language and translation support to humanitarian agencies around the world. While most of their positions are suited for translators, there is also a need for graphic designers, web developers, fundraisers, and project managers.
Similar to Idealist, Catchafire recruits professional volunteers to help nonprofits meet operational needs. Opportunities include website updates, writing fundraising letters, and assisting with social media marketing efforts. Search by cause, skills, or time commitment.
Listed on Medicare’s website as a virtual volunteering option, iCouldBe is a digital mentorship program. Volunteers are paired with high school students based on similar interests. Once paired, the duo works on weekly themed “quests” to build skills and help the student to achieve success in the classroom.
As the first provider of free electronic books, Project Gutenberg needs volunteers to help proofread books that have been converted from the Public Domain into e-book format. Visit the Distributed Proofreaders’ website for book titles that are currently being translated, and to register as a volunteer.
Nonprofit Learning Ally seeks to provide grade-level content in audiobook format to children with learning disabilities. Students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities are able to keep pace with their peers, while improving their reading skills. Volunteers are needed to help narrate materials for use in school and at home. Volunteer positions are currently limited, but a waitlist is available.
American Red Cross
From blood drives to disaster-relief, the American Red Cross relies heavily on volunteers for a variety of programs. While most of their volunteer positions are in-person, there are many that can be done from home. Search is based on location, and can be filtered by interest.
The Smithsonian is searching for Digital Volunteers – called “volunpeers” – to help transcribe historical documents, like the financial ledger of a Parisian jeweler, or the field book of a turn of the century zoologist. There are plenty of projects available – to get started, browse by either museum or theme, and then select a project.
Additional Resources Active Seniors
For additional lifestyle tips and resources, visit The Bristal’s blog.