International Volunteer Day is happening on Friday 5 December, and this year Australian charity DoSomething are calling on people to try something different – become a virtual volunteer.
Being a virtual volunteer means volunteering your time online or on the phone, and one of the benefits is that you can do it any time of the day, or simply when it suits you.
The places you can volunteer are varied. At the Red Cross, you can become a Telecross volunteer by calling older Australians to check on their wellbeing and see how they’re going. At the other end of the spectrum, you can help out the Australian Museum by transcribing specimen labels, field notes and diaries. In turn, you will be assisting in revealing hidden knowledge in their vast collections, and it can all be done via computer.
Other virtual volunteering ideas listed on www.DoSomethingNearYou.com.au, include:
- For animal lovers, you can help scientists who study penguins in Antartica and the Southern Ocean by annotating their images
- Assisting the United nations with their work in developing countries if you have the skills to write, edit, design, research or translate
- Help the Western Australia State Library by transcribing 70000 handwritten WA Biographical Index cards – it’s done online
DoSomething Founder Jon Dee said while hundreds of thousands of people take up normal volunteering opportunities, there are an increasing number of people asking for online and over-the-phone opportunities.
“Younger Australians in particular are keen to use their internet and computer skills to give back and volunteer in new ways,” Mr Dee said.
“All that is required is a working internet connection and a computer, which are available from local libraries.
“With virtual volunteering, you don’t have to be fit or outgoing, or be able to drive a car. People with disabilities or mobility restrictions can also get involved. All it takes is some spare time, whenever you happen to be available and that can be a little time or lots. Whatever you can give.”
The DoSomething website shows people where they can volunteer in all 16,000 suburbs around Australia.