The world has changed quickly with COVID-19 spreading across the globe like wildfire. Life has come to a standstill with lockdown affecting major cities and small towns alike. Work from home and online studies is the new normal. The situation is not changing anytime soon. We will need to keep our outlook positive and help each other sail through this situation smoothly.
Human beings are social species by nature – we crave the company of others and find comfort in communicating in person, helping those in need, and creating a network of like-minded individuals in order to be happy and content in our lives.
The satisfaction we get from helping others inspires us to volunteer for causes close to our heart and indulge in charity and volunteering work. With COVID-19, the world needs volunteers and helpful samaritans more than ever. However, social distancing norms ensure that we remain in our homes and leave physical and onsite volunteering to professionals.
That shouldn’t stop us from contributing to a good cause. Just like work from home allows us to carry on with our profession and job commitments, virtual volunteering allows us to offer assistance from the comfort of our homes.
Volunteering as an organization
Corporates across the world encourage their employees to participate in social causes and volunteering work as a part of their CSR – Corporate Social Responsibilities policy. In some organizations, there are set targets for employees to involve in philanthropy and volunteering initiatives that are on par with companies’ objectives and values. Virtual volunteering is evolving as an effective tool for employee engagement. Organizations are setting aside special budgets to accommodate these activities. Besides supporting the CSR initiatives of the organization, it creates a positive environment. It helps improve the mental well being of the employees and the time spent together can be fun.
When the organization contributes towards the betterment of the society, it adds to the social image of the brand and promotes a healthy work culture within the organization. Indulging in non-work initiatives as a team fosters better work relations and builds a stronger team.
With COVID-19, the way we volunteer has also undergone drastic changes. Employees can continue to offer their contributions to society virtually. It can be as an individual or as part of a team. It can be for a local cause or across the boundaries. Based on one’s skill and appetite for involvement in philanthropy, there are tailormade opportunities and solutions available.
How virtual volunteering can help employees and organization in current times
The need to keep employees engaged and motivated is very important in current times. With work from home, the social interactions and vibrant environment of the workplace have disappeared. After office parties, a casual moment around watercooler, lunchtime humor, and many other things that make the workplace lively are missing. The fear of uncertainties, dwindling markets, and a sense of insecurity that comes in times of COVID also hampers the mental well-being of employees. Involving in virtual volunteering can lift ones’ spirit in many ways.
- Create a support system: The virtual volunteering team connects the employees beyond the scope of regular work. This allows them to share and discuss things beyond work and creates an informal support system.
- Generate a positive environment: Helping others is human nature. It brings immense joy when you are able to bring smiles in the lives of people whom you have not even met. Working as a team can generate a lot of positivity and fun.
- Build a better team: Volunteering can bring together a lot of people from across the functions, departments, and geography together to work in an informal environment. This will build stronger teams for the organization.
- Skill development: It promotes individual skill development in a non-pressure environment where the results and outcome are not linked to performance.
- Employee engagement: There are a lot of functions where the work has literally come to standstill or has reduced substantially with the lockdown. For instance, retail stores and the hotel industry have started opening but they are operating with a minimal workforce in line with the government norms. Till such functions resume back to work, it is important to keep them occupied. Virtual volunteering can help keep them engaged and motivated.
- Stronger bond with the community: Good CSR is a long-term investment in the image of the organization and builds a strong bond with the local community. The goodwill generated will yield returns for a very long time.
- Fun: While volunteering virtually, being involved in informal activities as a team can help break the communication barriers across departments, functions, and hierarchy. Various fun activities and icebreakers can be planned to involve and engage employees. This is a welcome change from monotonous work.
Virtual Volunteering for individuals and team
- As an organization, you can support a local or regional cause or extend your helping hand to reach across national or international boundaries.
- Support a specific cause like healthcare, education, employment or focus on special categories like girl child education, menstrual hygiene awareness, skill development for specially-abled individuals, or work towards gender and color equality.
- In current times, you can organize fundraising for COVID care or help set up the infrastructure for online classes for a community school, help marketing of handmade masks by rural women in an underdeveloped nation, and more. The opportunities are endless.
- Based on the skill sets and level of engagement that you are looking for, opt for individual activities, team activities, or a healthy mix of both. For staff with a limited skill set, you can choose simpler tasks like data entry while those with a special skill set assign mentoring or technology development. Those with a passion for art can record workshops for kids, a master orator can record audiobooks for the blind.
- Spend as less as an hour for a micro activity or commit for a long-term association. Get your team together for a one-time experience or have a short-term commitment for social causes when the workflow is reduced because of lockdown and the team needs to be kept engaged and motivated.
- If you are skeptical about how things will work out, start small. Pilot run a short-term virtual volunteering project with a team of goodwill ambassadors who are enthusiastic and believe in altruism.
Powering the world of good
There are endless opportunities for virtual volunteering on platforms like Goodera, specially curated to provide impactful virtual volunteering opportunities in a variety of areas. Platforms like this are currently engaged in over 90+ countries with a well-developed virtual volunteering platform and a team of motivated SPOC’s to assist employees and organizations throughout their virtual volunteering journey.
Kickstart your virtual volunteering by getting in touch with your organization’s CSR team and embark on the journey of goodness.