You can volunteer — straight from home


Maybe you don’t have the time to organize a food drive or go all the way across town every weekend to lend a hand at a charity-based thrift store, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still give some of your time to a worthy cause. The internet is good for more than just social media and online shopping; it also offers virtual volunteering opportunities.

As long as you have a laptop, tablet, or smartphone with internet access, you can join in the global effort to create a better world—without ever even changing out of your pajamas. The push toward virtual volunteering has developed naturally in an increasingly digital world, and it offers ample opportunities to do good for those who are technologically inclined. You could create a new website for a charity who doesn’t have an IT person on staff. You might be able to mentor a teen in need via online communications. Perhaps you may even stumble across an opportunity to do some research or write marketing materials for a group that’s doing some real good, either in your own town or elsewhere.

So if you could see yourself contributing to a cause from the comfort of your couch, tablet or smartphone in hand, ask yourself a few preliminary questions in order to find the best fit for you. First of all, what are your professional skills? Do you have a background in law, or maybe a few years’ experience in marketing? No matter what your skill set is, chances are there’s a nonprofit organization out there that needs you. And once you’ve discerned your most valuable professional skills, consider an equally important query: what do you love to do? Maybe you’re an electrician by day, but your true passion is writing. Or perhaps you chose accounting as a profession, but graphic design is what really inspires you. Even if your professional skills and personal talents don’t quite align, it’s important to keep both in mind when you start searching for an online volunteer position.

One of the biggest perks of volunteering online is that you can get involved in projects halfway across the globe. Case in point: theUNV Online Volunteering service. Backed by the United Nations, this online database compiles a list of opportunities with organizations that work toward sustainable human development from all across the can also connect you with philanthropic organizations scattered around the world.

But if you’d rather contribute to your local community, that’s certainly an option, too. Websites both allow you to search for virtual opportunities nearby (as does VolunteerMatch), so you can lend a hand to organizations near your neighborhood. Of course, you can also just call up a charity or nonprofit that operates nearby and see if they have any use for your online skills.

No matter how you decide to volunteer virtually, rest assured that you’re making an impact on the world around you—and you didn’t even have to put on pants.