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Virtual Micro-Volunteering Options

Examples of virtual student volunteering activities from Jayne Cravens and Susan J. Ellis, The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook.

Tasks include:

  • translating documents (and proofreading the translations by others).
  • researching topics for a newsletter article, a new web site section, a grant application, an upcoming software purchase, a program or project, and on and on.
  • designing web pages and developing web sites.
  • editing or writing proposals, press releases, newsletter articles, video scripts, web pages, etc.
  • designing any publication.
  • developing material for a curriculum.
  • transcribing scanned documents.
  • designing a database.
  • adapting a purchased database software to meet the needs of a nonprofit, charity, community program, etc.
  • designing graphics.
  • providing legal, business, medical, agricultural, financial or any other expertise (answering questions, creating a strategy, commenting on a strategy, reviewing or evaluating data, etc.).
  • serving on a committee or advisory board. An example is the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee, a panel of online volunteer editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to impose binding solutions to disputes between editors, primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve.
  • having friendly video chats with home bound people.  Or, animals at aquariums like the eels in Japan.
  • counseling people. 
  • tutoring or mentoring students regarding homework, writing assignments, online safety, professional development.
  • moderating or facilitating online discussion groups or live online events, to answer questions, to refer people to FAQs, to facilitate disagreements, to address harassment and cyber bullying, to counter fake news/misinformation, etc.
  • writing songs.
  • finding or creating recipes to share (for instance, sharing healthy recipes that utilize specific ingredients for a food pantry that serves low-income individuals affected by HIV and AIDS; the recipes are distributed at the pantry with those items. Online volunteers' efforts provide ideas for healthy and diverse ways to use the groceries clients receive)
  • populating a database with information, such as recipes for people with diabetes, or recycling ideas, or information about access points into a mass transit system accessible for people with mobility issues, and on and on.
  • interviewing new candidates for a program, class, volunteering, employment...
  • creating a podcast (writing the script, editing the audio, adding in intro and exit music, reading text, etc.).
  • creating a video - either recording it from home or creating such from video clips, photos, etc.
  • editing a video.
  • captioning a video.
  • transcribing a podcast so that people can read it (not everyone can listen to such - some prefer to read it as well).
  • putting in short descriptions of images on a web site or community, or transcribe images of text that is on a web site or online community, so that people that rely on text-to-speech or other assistive software (mostly these are people with disabilities) can access the information as well. This makes a web site or online community more accessible. 
  • getting rid of all "read more" and "click here" links on a web site, replacing them with descriptive links, so that the web site is more accessible for people with disabilities.
  • adding alt texts to all images and graphics on a web site, so that the web site is more accessible for people with disabilities.
  • evaluating a web site and offering advice on text changes that can improve its search engine optimization.
  • monitoring the news to look for specific subjects.
  • answering questions as part of an Ask Me Anything session, to help build staff expertise on a subject, to be on call as needed, etc.
  • tagging photos and files with keywords (so that they can be more easily found by internal staff, search engines, the press, etc.).
  • screening new applicants who want to volunteer (asking them questions, checking references, reviewing their qualifications, etc.).
  • staffing an organization or program's incoming email box, answering simple questions, referring emails to appropriate staff, as appropriate, making sure inquiries from the press, complaints, comments from funders, questions from government officials and other important emails get attended to by senior staff immediately.