Category : Uncategorized
DreJean Cummings, Volunteer in Urban Programs Project Assistant
Virtual Volunteerism for Community and Youth Engagement
Volunteerism provides community members a meaningful way to give back to their communities, offers a sense of belonging, and allows individuals an opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the world. Volunteers are as diverse as their interests, and many devote their efforts to schools, churches, and other community organizations. While many volunteers are able to complete their desired service, still many others are unable to participate in the traditional sense. Those who desire to volunteer but are unable to report a busier lifestyle, time constraints, or simply seek different ways to be involved that meets their needs. Fortunately there are alternate technologically savvy opportunities for volunteers who wish to give back to their communities without having to be physically present, virtual volunteering.
Virtual volunteering refers to volunteer actions that are performed online either from home or other off-site locations. To become a virtual volunteer, all that is needed is connection to the internet, and many organizations including ACES has these resources available. The benefits for the volunteer include the ability to choose which projects suits their interest best, and to engage with the community without having to be physically present. With the growing number of volunteers who are technologically literate, it is important to reach all volunteers how they may be most comfortable serving. Volunteers from all walks of life can assist as a virtual volunteer, and the impact they have are just as meaningful to organizations. Conventionalism volunteerism seeks to have volunteers be physically present, but for a variety of reasons virtual volunteering may serve as a more suitable alternative.
Volunteers of all ages can benefit from virtual volunteering, but youth volunteers have a unique opportunity to engage in their community with the assistance of technology. The youth demographic, also known as Millennials, is a group that is technologically savvy and comfortable completing tasks online. Virtual volunteering benefits organizations greatly, as it attracts younger volunteers and brings fresh and innovative ideas to the organization. Virtual Volunteering combines the need for volunteers in an ever growing technological world.
Possible Virtual Volunteering positions include:
· Management of social media sites
· Assisting in graphic design
· Website management
· Providing clerical assistance
· Organizing and planning organization events
· Mentoring youth via video
· Connecting with other volunteers
For more information on how to become a virtual volunteer with ACES contact Urban Affairs at 256-372-4585 or visit www.aces.edu
Mukherjee, D. (2010). An Exploratory Study of Older Adults’ Engagement with Virtual Volunteerism. Journal Of Technology In Human Services, 28(3), 188-196. doi:10.1080/15228835.2010.508368
Sundeen, R. A., Raskoff, S. A., & Garcia, M. C. (2007). Differences in perceived barriers to volunteering to formal organizations: Lack of time versus lack of interest. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 17(3), 279-300. doi:10.1002/nml.150
Volunteer Engagement 2.0 : Ideas and Insights Changing the World (1). (2015). Somerset, US: Wiley. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com