Alternative Ways to Volunteer or Donate During COVID-19
What is Virtual Volunteering?
Virtual volunteerism refers to volunteer activities completed, in whole or in part, using the internet and home, school, work or other internet-connected devices. Moreover, volunteering conducted from a distance, such as mailings, can also be considered virtual volunteering. Virtual volunteering is also known as online volunteering, remote volunteering, or e-volunteering.
How does virtual volunteering work?
It has been found that virtual volunteering is more convenient, less expensive and time intensive, than compared to traditional physical volunteering. While there will always be physical volunteering, the shift towards online platforms has made virtual volunteering positions increasingly widespread and accessible.
In fact, in times of social disruption, such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic, working and volunteering remotely has become essential to keeping the economy, and especially non-profits, running. Due to the rise in teleworking tools such as Zoom, Skype, WebEx etc., it has never been easier, or more rewarding, to become a virtual volunteer!
What are the benefits of virtual volunteering?
Flexible and less time-intensive
Develop new skills in low-risk environment
Tap into different cultures and ideas
Connect to a passionate global online community
How can I become a virtual volunteer?
The best place to start is to ask yourself, “What causes, or issues interest me the most?”. From there, you can begin to identify which causes you would like to support and focus your efforts on the non-profits you would like to promote.
While it’s often tempting to play it safe and do something we have already done, consider working for an non-profit sector you have little experience, but are keen to explore – going out of our comfort zone and exploring new approaches is how we develop creative and interesting perspectives!
What should you look for before signing up?
Once you have a shortlist of ideas, the next thing is to research the non-profit or organization you are keen to support. Here are a few tips when exploring virtual volunteering opportunities:
Research each organization thoroughly
Eliminate fraudulent or unstable organizations
Understand how your hours and work will be recorded
Know what kind of training or experience is required
Discuss needs and expectations with the non-profit
Before you sign up for an online volunteer position, determine that the organization does the kind of work that you support, and that fits your interests and skills.
Do I need any training?
Non-profits should provide full training for any virtual volunteering project offered. This may require some additional time to complete, however most non-profits are considerate of their volunteer’s time and will often include training as part of the volunteer activity. Moreover, as virtual volunteerism is often skill-based, learning a new skill, or enhancing an existing set will add to your resume.
What additional equipment do I need?
Make sure you have the right equipment and services to do virtual volunteering. At a minimum, most projects require a computer, tablet such as an iPad, or smartphone, as well as a stable internet connection. Always check with the non-profit which software applications are required and if any additional costs are involved. For those volunteers using a computer or laptop, it may be beneficial to use a two-way headset with built-in microphone for call-based projects.
Students are not expected to pay any additional costs for virtual volunteering. MSU Billings will not reimburse students for expenses incurred through virtual volunteering projects.
How can I record my virtual volunteering hours?
The easiest way to evidence your hours is to log them using our online volunteer platform Cowbell Connect
Service Opportunities Virtually or Remotely
Please see the Virtual/Remote Volunteer Resource Guide to get involved with National Organizations!
Plarning with a Purpose (Virtual)
Bully's Closet and Pantry
Please drop off at the following location: 120 Morgan Ave. Mississippi State, MS 39762 With increased demand, they are in need of specific donation, which can be found by CLICKING HERE
Contact Courtney Kemp before dropping off or shipping items at her cell 662-418-4737. Drop off and shipping location: 143 Westside Drive, Starkville, MS 39759
Starkville Church of God Food Pantry
Max Keene is the main contact for this site: 662-323-0352. Drop off and Shipping Location: 100 Locksley Way Starkville, MS 39759
Pine Lake Church - Pine Lake Care Center
Primary contact is Larry Armstrong 601-942-8212. Drop off location: 104 Willow RD Starkville, MS 39759
Oktibbeha County Humane Society
Always in need of cash and additional donations on their wishlist, which can be viewed here: OCHS WISHLIST
They also need volunteers to foster pets for them (eligible to those who reside off campus). Here is a link to information and the application for fostering: https://www.ochsms.org/foster/- For more information about fostering for OCHS, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or you may complete a foster application and their Foster Coordinator will contact you.