COVID-19: How to volunteer

Last updated: April 22, 2020

Volunteerism during the time of the coronavirus is a new challenge that nonprofits, volunteers, and employers are rising to meet. Because most in-person volunteering activities have been canceled, we’ve seen an increase in demand and availability of virtual volunteering events. We are also seeing more interest in skills-based volunteering to help individuals match their unique skills with nonprofits who need help. Volunteering is a key ingredient in maintaining ties to our communities, continuing our cultures of giving back, and engaging with our family, friends, and colleague through meaningful work.

Bright Funds has aggregated virtual (and in-person) volunteering opportunities sourced through recommendations, nonprofit emails, and companies who have compiled their own lists.

Please refer to this page for ongoing updates as we continue curating this list. If you have volunteering opportunity recommendations, please email us at nonprofits@brightfunds.org.

Volunteer Opportunities Collated by Bright Funds

Organization nameActivity descriptionLink
Several organizations looking for virtual volunteersIf this feature is available on your Bright Funds account – View “Nonprofit Posted” opportunities on Bright Funds and toggle to “Remote” opportunities and/or “Covid-19” opportunities to view events sourced through VolunteerMatch. brightfunds.org/volunteering/events?source=partner
Red CrossMissing maps – Missing Maps is an open, collaborative project in which you can help to map areas where humanitarian organisations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable people.https://www.missingmaps.org/
Project Homeless Connect“How Can I Help?” Virtual Volunteering & Support to Homeless Neighborshttps://www.projecthomelessconnect.org/2020/03/covid-19-support/
MakeMasksMakeMasks is a grassroots collective seeking to provide short-term relief by mobilizing sewists, makers, and organizers to deliver hand-sewn masks to those affected by Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shortages.https://www.makemasks2020.org/
TaprootPro Bono skilled volunteering projects, and a listing of other Covid-19 related volunteer opportunitieshttps://taprootfoundation.org/

https://taprootfoundation.org/how-you-can-support-nonprofits-responding-to-covid-19/
CatchafireSkilled volunteering projectshttps://www.catchafire.org/
Translators Without BordersTranslators without Borders depends on volunteers to translate millions of words, but also to help us run the organization. We work with volunteers who have all kinds of great skills – and many learn new skills that they can use in their jobs.https://translatorswithoutborders.org/volunteer/
Project GutenburgYou can help proofreading new eBooks by joining the Distributed Proofreaders team. You will proofread one page at a time, as many as you like, as often as you like. Use the DP forums to communicate with your fellow proofreadershttps://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Gutenberg:Volunteering_for_Project_Gutenberg
The SmithsonianBecome a Smithsonian Digital Volunteer and help us make historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible. Join 16,537 “volunpeers” to add more to the total 525,790 pages of field notes, diaries, ledgers, logbooks, currency proof sheets, photo albums, manuscripts, biodiversity specimens labels that have been collaboratively transcribed and reviewed since June 2013.https://transcription.si.edu/
Crisis Text LineCrisis Text Line is the free, 24/7 text line for people in crisis in the United States. The service is powered by volunteer Crisis Counselors who work remotely—anywhere with a computer and secure internet connection works. Crisis Counselors answer texts from people in crisis, bringing them from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening, collaborative problem solving, and safety planning.https://www.crisistextline.org/become-a-volunteer/
United NationsThe United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. Online volunteering allows organizations and volunteers to team up to address sustainable development challenges – anywhere in the world, from any device. Online volunteering is fast, easy – and most of all, effective. When skilled, passionate individuals join forces online with great organizations working toward sustainable development goals, everyone wins.https://www.onlinevolunteering.org/en
Amnesty InternationalAmnesty Decoders is an innovative platform for volunteers around the world to use their computers or phones to help our researchers sift through pictures, information and documents.https://decoders.amnesty.org/
Library of CongressBe a virtual volunteer! Anyone can contribute. Improve access to history by transcribing, reviewing, and tagging Library of Congress documents.https://crowd.loc.gov/
National ArchivesWelcome to our Citizen Archivist program. You can contribute to the National Archives Catalog by tagging, transcribing and adding comments to our records, making them more accessible and searchable. Join us! Every contribution you make helps unlock history.https://www.archives.gov/citizen-archivist

Aggregated Virtual Volunteering Lists

Organization nameActivity descriptionLink
Aggregated list from Harry’sHarry’s has aggregated a list of virtual volunteer opportunitieshttps://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1cZqV-n1pXhq1S_fKErLRjYNVfONmmGe_R3hSc3Byks4/edit?usp=sharing
Aggregated list from BoxBox has aggregated a list of virtual volunteer opportunitieshttps://cloud.app.box.com/notes/635907188343?s=l4fnu0umr5a49zld0lkxnp8r9pa1owrh
BCCCC list of recommendationsBoston College Center for Corporate Citizenship has compiled a list of short term and long term volunteer opportunitieshttps://ccc.bc.edu/content/ccc/blog-home/2020/03/engaging-employees-through-digital-volunteering.html
California VolunteersCalifornia Volunteers (affiliated with the Office of the Governor) has a list of ways Californians can volunteer in their communities. Check for similar entities in your area for local resources.https://californiavolunteers.ca.gov/get-involved/covid-19/

Volunteering Opportunities from Nonprofits

Opportunities provided to Bright Funds from our nonprofit network (note opportunities are not vetted)

Organization nameActivity descriptionLink
The Unity CouncilWe are working with the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Oakland to bring small business resources to our Business Improvement District, and are right now calling every merchant to learn what their needs are and to find out if they’re still open. We’re delivering more than 350 bags of groceries to our Head Start children and families this week, and partnering with the Alameda County Food Bank to provide meals to the 200 seniors in our affordable senior properties. Training. If volunteers are willing to offer tutorials to our employees on how to work remotely, that would be helpful. Some of the small business owners we serve need help in transitioning their business to have e-commerce and digital gift cards. An entrepreneurial-minded volunteer (bilingual is helpful!) could connect with business owners to make this happen.https://unitycouncil.org/
TechtonicaVolunteer events have been moved to virtual. Techtonica partners with tech companies to provide free tech training, laptops, living stipends, and job placement to women and non-binary adults in need in the Bay Area.https://techtonica.org/
Education Success FoundationEducation Success Foundation is equipping our community’s children to succeed in school – and in life.
Opportunity: Virtual Guest Reader
https://educationsuccessfoundation.org/
Empower Work Inc,We support people at critical work moments, and many feel like their jobs are on the line. At the end, you’ll be a certified peer counselor ready to support people under the supervision of Empower Work staff! https://www.empowerwork.org/volunteerempowerwork.org
Activate Good IncHelping Triangle Area Causes. Our Mission is to activate volunteers to help charitable causes in our local community.https://activategood.org/covid19/
Creative Minds Nyc Inc; Story PiratesStory Pirates Changemakers does have a corporate volunteer program that your colleagues can participate in remotely. Through Story Love, our corporate volunteer program, your colleagues help us read awesome stories and help us provide positive, personalized, hand-written feedback for each and every story we receive bringing encouragement to over 30,000 students, mostly from low-income schools.http://storypirateschangemakers.org/story-love
GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement CentersWe at GiGi’s Playhouse Down syndrome Achievement Center are doing our best to adapt to our current situation and have launched GiGi’s Playhouse LIVE and ON DEMAND for HOME nationwide and in Mexico to the over 10,000 families we serve. Because so many of our participants are not receiving the same educational support, and miss their friends and GiGi Program routine, within just a few days we created an entire platform for our families, and they are LOVING being back as a part of their community! You can check it out here: GiGi’s at Home link At the same time, with the canceling of our March and April events, we have forecasted a loss of 75% of revenue or 2.4 million during this time, so any support you can offer is greatly appreciated! In addition, we will be making available our volunteer tutoring sessions on line very soon. With 99% of our programs being volunteer run, we will need help!https://gigisplayhouse.org/gigisathome/
Campaign One At A TimeWe have been heavily impacted, because here at Campaign One At A Time, we pride ourselves on spending one on one time with children battling cancer and other life threatening illnesses in the hospitals and in their homes, but due to all of the social distancing restrictions and spread of COVID-19, we have cancelled all visits and events through April. This past week, we’ve been innovating new ways to bring value to the kids and their families and are currently producing virtual programs and entertainment for the kids to participate in!
If you know of any companies who have employees who would be willing to dress up as a Disney character or super hero to read stories to the kids or do an activity via one of our virtual hangouts, that would be awesome!
https://campaignoaat.org/portfolio-item/spreadgood-sqad/
NAMI Wake CountyFor volunteering, there are opportunities for people who are able to do things more in depth that would require training (answering calls on our Helpline, data-entry, facilitating virtual programming, calling our members/participants to check in on them, etc.), but there are smaller things your team can help out with.

Create videos to promote positive mental well-being. This can be sharing breathing techniques, yoga poses, what you’re doing to help your kids, etc.
Send pictures of cute animals. We need more fun and reasons to smile.
Share your art. Let us see what this means to you and how you are expressing yourself in these tough times.
https://nami-wake.org/
SuitUpSuitUp has a speaker series that showcases topics such as how-to further future diversity in the workplace, the impact of skills-based volunteering on company employees, and a case study with SuitUp’s Founder, Zach Graumann. This is a great way for companies to continue learning about the importance of corporate social responsibility while working remotely! Attached please find an outline that reviews each topic in further detail. Each session would be specific to one company as there will be breakout rooms and turn and talks embedded, which would be best served to people who work on the same team and can target the discussions specific to their company needs. The last 10 minutes of each webinar will allot for setting action steps for how to apply these learnings to company culture to ultimately drive systemic change.https://volunteersuitup.org/
Womens’ Voices NowWe are seeking to move more of our programming to online and are needing some direction on easiest-to-use teaching platforms, we’ve used Teachable but there isn’t a live option there. We could use a volunteer to help us navigate this space, activate, and train staff on how to use.https://www.womensvoicesnow.org/
The Valentine ProjectWe have reached out to our volunteers asking them to sew masks for the children and families we help. However, the need for masks is urgent and we would like to be able to provide families with masks as soon as possible. Making masks is an easy and rewarding way for people to help remotely.

Another wonderful way for volunteers to get involved with The Valentine Project remotely is to make Kindness Cards. These beautiful handmade cards are then mailed out to the children on our list to help brighten their day at a time when they may be feeling isolated and lonely. Receiving a card from a person they have never met is a magical way to help spread love and joy. More information about how to make a Kindness Card can be found at https://thevalentineproject.org/make-kindness-cards/, or on our webpage TheValentineProject.org. Again, once Kindness Cards are completed, they can be sent to The Valentine House at the above address.
thevalentineproject.org

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