Web work doesn’t necessarily involve earning an income. Through the Internet, we can give back to the global community and do a different kind of online work — volunteering. Here are some ways to use a little of your time to help others.
Look for organizations that you can work with online. Many non-profit organizations have some volunteers working only through the Internet. The United Nations has a database of online opportunities for which you can apply. NABUUR is another online volunteering platform that connects local communities with online volunteers. For both sites, you can choose from a variety of tasks, including research, translation, writing, design and much more.
Just remember that if you’re going to work with an organization on a specific project, such as redesigning its web site or setting up an online marketing campaign, treat them as you would your regular clients. Have a contract ready, make a list of deliverables, and define the project scope so that everything is clear to both parties. Also, be aware of the disadvantages that can come with working on projects for free.
Offer your help to non-profit web sites. If you have an erratic schedule and can’t make specific time commitments to an organization, you can turn to web sites that are looking for volunteers. If you’re a programmer, you can help fix bugs on an open-source application. For book lovers, proofreading for Project Gutenberg and reading for Librivox are good options.
Use social media to promote causes you care about. Most web workers are usually very active on social media sites and have blogs. You can easily use these tools to direct your contacts to the causes and issues you care about. Through this you can help raise awareness, find new donors, or encourage other people to volunteer.
If you’re interested in doing volunteer web work, here are some additional resources that can help:
- Myths About Online Volunteering from Coyote Communications.
- Virtual Volunteering Resources from ServiceLeader.org
- Volunteer Match allows you to search for organizations you can work with.
Cause-oriented web work can be very fulfilling, both emotionally and professionally. Go on, get involved!
Have you ever considered online volunteering? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.