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Virtual volunteering

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Giving back without leaving your home

Volunteering can now be done online, via computers, tablets or smartphones, usually off-site from the non-profit organization being supported. More and more, organizations are engaging people who want to contribute their skills and time via the internet.

What are the benefits of virtual volunteering?
Virtual volunteering is flexible, often allowing the volunteer to complete a task or project around his or her own schedule. It is also not limited by geography, physical ability or work arrangement. You can choose to volunteer for an organization in your local community, across the country or across the globe all without needing to leave your home. 

What is the time commitment? 
Willing individuals can complete one-time, short-term or ongoing tasks and projects. You may choose to volunteer once to write a blog, over a few months to design a website or on an ongoing basis as a tutor to a student for one hour per week over a school year.   

What skills do I want to share or learn?
Consider the types of skills and talents you would like to share or learn through your volunteering and match them to the needs of an organization. Some people want to share their professional skills; others would rather share talents not related to their profession. Some are seeking to learn a new skill or build work experience. Many opportunities are skills-based and can include pro bono legal services. 

Applying for a virtual volunteering opportunity?
As with any volunteer opportunity, there are steps to ensure a good match and a safe experience for the volunteer and the non-profit organization. Some opportunities require specific expertise and screening, others don’t. Depending on the position or task, this may include some or all of the following:
• Completing an online application form 
• Sending your resume and references
• Meeting/connecting for an interview (by phone or online)
• Getting a Police Record Check, or a Vulnerable Sector Check 
• Completing an online orientation
• Participating in position-specific training 

Examples of virtual volunteering 
Individuals engaged in virtual volunteering can take on a variety of activities and projects from one-time to long-term and everything in-between. Here are some examples of areas where you might be able to help out:
• Social media strategy development 
• Technology assessments 
• Employee handbook development
• Organizing photo libraries  
• Business or marketing plan creation
• Project proposal writing  
• Financial analysis 
• Graphic design 
• Translation, editing or proofreading of documents
• Social media posting and blogs
• Project management for a new program 
• Mentoring or tutoring
• Telephone assurance for seniors

Here are four examples of virtual volunteering opportunities that we found listed:  

1)Telephone Reassurance Volunteer: Use your phone to connect with an isolated senior or adult with a disability and bring some light to their day!

2) Public Relations Specialist: Are you a communicator who is interested in volunteering for a young and energetic organization where you’ll enjoy flexibility in setting your own schedule and freedom to contribute your ideas? Your role will be to help support communications efforts and contribute to the development of a media relations, influencer engagement and social communications strategy. 

3) Writer: Assist with writing marketing and communications documents such as newsletters, request letters, website content, and more. 

4) Volunteer Social Media Specialist: Join an organization’s marketing team to produce and implement social media strategies. You could manage, maintain and grow an organization’s social media presence on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

In your area
Many volunteer centres across the country have volunteer matching platforms where individuals can find and apply to virtual volunteer opportunities online. (see next page). 

Source: Volunteer Canada

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Canadian Abilities Foundation

The Canadian Abilities Foundation (CAF) is a registered Canadian charity. CAF was founded in 1986 and has since been a national leader and partner with other organizations and governments on various projects related to disability and communications.

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Canadian Abilities Foundation envisions an inclusive, universally accessible society, where all people belong and are valued. Our mission is to make Canada the most accessible country in the world through advocacy, awareness building and sharing of best practice solutions.

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