Want to give back? 9 ways to volunteer from home
Our first few months of quarantine consisted of lots of banana bread baking, Netflix watching, and Face-timing. While we’re still watching a lot of TV (and baking a lot of treats for that matter) — now that we’re on month seven-ish of quarantine, we’ve also tried to use our extra time to give back and volunteer from home.
Though doing good from home involves a bit of creativity, it’s certainly not impossible. Far from it! Many nonprofits are offering unique remote opportunities that don’t require leaving your couch. And there’s no shortage of ways to use your voice for important causes that speak to your heart, thanks to social media.
So whether you’re a writer, animal-lover, researcher, or crafter — here are ways to give back & volunteer from home. Because no matter where you are, you can always do something kind and empowering for those those near and far away.
9 ways to give back & volunteer from home
1. If you… want to support LGBTQ youth
Consider getting involved with the Trevor Project as a digital crisis counselor. According to the website, crisis counselors are trained to “answer chat messages or texts online from young people who are struggling with issues such as coming out, LGBTQ identity, depression, and suicide.”
The commitment is a one-year minimum and requires one 3-hour shift weekly. Additionally, you’ll go through a 40-hour online training and need a personal computer + high-speed internet connection.
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Listen to our staff members August and Jen talk about 5 ways to be a better ally, and check out our Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth with illustrations by @damianimated for even more tips at: 👉🏽 trvr.org/TDOV 👈🏿 And remember, no matter what you're going through on #TDOV, we're here for you 💕 If you or anyone you know needs support, we're here for you 24/7 at 866.488.7386 or text/chat: thetrevorproject.org/help 📲
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Rather chat on the phone? The nonprofit also has opportunities to be a Crisis Counselor by answering phone calls via the 24/7 Lifeline for young people who feel suicidal or need a safe, non-judgmental place to talk. The commitment is one-year minimum and two 4-hour shifts per month.
2. If you… want to connect with others through words
Become a pen pal with a senior through Victorian Senior Care! Simply visit the website and you’ll find various addresses accepting letters. Plus, they feature different residents with their names along with interests such as reading and painting.
Other pen pal opportunities are available through the sex workers advocacy organization — Sex Workers Outreach Project Behind Bars, and Black & Pink, a program for incarcerated LGBTQ individuals. Just be sure to read the rules and guidelines before sending your letter.
Or, you can always reach out to a local assisted living center or other organization to see if they’re accepting pen pals. Google is a great place to start your search!
3. If you… want to tutor
Everyone from high school students to recent retirees can get involved with Learn To Be, a digital 1-on-1 tutoring nonprofit. The organization has supported about 2,000 students from K-12 in subjects including math, science, and reading.
4. If you… want to help mobilize Black voters
As a volunteer with the NAACP, you’ll call and/or text Black voters and encourage them to use their power at the ballot box. You get to make your own hours as a volunteer depending on your availability. So whether you have a few minutes per day or few hours, you can still get involved.
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It's time to gather! The 111th #NAACPConvention kicks off virtually, September 13-26. Join us for imperative conversations on voting, economic stability, health, and criminal justice for Blacks. For schedule and registration info see link in bio. #WeAreDoneDying
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Learn more about the NAACP empowerment programs and mission, here.
5. If you… want to research
Zooniverse has opportunities for volunteers to help with research projects in various fields such as literature and climate. There’s no minimum time requirement, which means you can do as little or as much as you’d like. (For a glimpse at some of their projects, we personally love the Penguin Watch Project.)
The organization also has opportunities to volunteer as a Beta Tester (testing projects before they’re launched) and as a Project Moderator (moderating discussions and acting as a point of contact for a project).
6. If you… want to craft
Look into Knots of Love. This nonprofit focuses on giving hand-knit and crochet caps for those struggling with treatment-induced hair loss. They also give tiny Neonatal blankets for fragile new lives in incubators. Their mission is to, “warm the hearts and heads of those experiencing traumatic hair loss.” 💖
Project Linus is another nonprofit that provides homemade blankets to children in need. According to a 2016 report, they’ve donated more than six million blankets to children everwhere from shelters, to hospitals, to treatment centers.
7. If you … want to take care of animals
Of course, adopting a pet is a beautiful way to give an animal the ultimate gift: a happy healthy home. But if you’re not in a position to adopt, fostering an animal is another extremely generous way to show your love and support.
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Meet eight-year-old, Gemma. She has one of the best smiles in Dogtown. Gemma is an affectionate, spunky, and sweet girl all in a compact package! Originally from Louisiana, Gemma loves to go on walks and meet new people. Her other favorite activities include chewing sturdy toys, going for car 🚗 rides and golf cart rides, snuggling, and sunbathing. ☀️ Gemma would do best in a home that can provide structure and routine as well as affection and fun. It's unknown if Gemma ever had a home 🏠 before, but she's learned what life is all about now and she's waiting for a new home of her own! DM us for more info about Gemma! #SaveThemAll #adoptable #adoptdontshop #adopt #dog #rescuedog #dogsofinstagram
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Here are some organizations to look into, in addition to your local shelters:
8. If you… want to walk for a cause
One thing we’re doing a whole lot more of recently is: walking in our neighborhoods (with a mask, of course!). Put your extra steps to good use and join a virtual walkathon. For example, Best Friends Animal Society has a charity dog walk — Strutt Your Mutt, and Light the Night Walk raises money for research to find blood cancer cures. So, rather than running in a group, you walk or run at your own convenience — on a treadmill, trail, or sidewalk — for a cause you care about.
Is there a specific organization you want to support without a virtual walk planned? Start your own! Here’s a helpful guide to get you started: How to organize a virtual walkathon or race
9. If you… want to help but are also super busy
We know we all have different schedules, so if you’re swamped, here are simple ways to give back from your computer without signing up for a regular commitment.
- Download the Forest app, which plants trees when you use the app to stay productive. So far, they’ve planted more than 850,000 trees!
- Raise awareness about an issue you’re passionate about through your social media platform.
- Buy a gift card for a friend who works in health care, education, etc.
And of course, there are so many ways to give back & volunteer from home outside of this list. Check in on your neighbors, say “thank you” to your mail person, shop local, and reach out to someone who you know is going through a hard time. We know we write this a lot, but we really mean it — every act of kindness makes a difference.