Remote volunteering: The benefits of volunteering ūüíĽ

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Remote volunteering is one of the several foregrounding changes introduced by Covid-19.

When lockdown occurred, many students were looking to make best use of their time while still developing their skills and experience.

Remote volunteering offered students a means to enhance their professional profile during restricitons, and continues to be a popular choice in present times due to its many advantages.

In this blog, we will explain what remote volunteering is, why volunteering is important and the kinds of benefits remote volunteering can offer.

 

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What is remote volunteering?

Remote volunteering or virtual volunteering refers to the participation in a volunteer program or role via an internet-connected device, such as a laptop or smartphone.

In this sense, remote volunteering enables you to help your community and gain valuable experience from the comfort of your own home – all you need is a good internet connection!

Unlike traditional volunteering, where you are limited by geography, remote volunteering opportunities are endless.

Perhaps you live in Birmingham but want to volunteer¬†for¬†a conservation charity in the Cornwall, or maybe you want to volunteer¬†for a leading NGO in London but can’t afford the commute?

Scenarios such as these are no longer inescapable.

When facing restrictions due to locality or financial status, remote volunteering enables you to find a cause for which you are truly passionate and volunteer in a sector that you are keen to gain experience in.

Unlike traditional routes, remote volunteering serves as a means by which organisations can work to ensure fair access and equal opportunity to experiences that were once gatekept.

 

Remote volunteering ideas:

  • Video editor:¬†help a charity with their campaigns by editing promotional videos and posting them online.
  • Marketing volunteer:¬†assist recruiters in updating job opportunities using Excel spreadsheets¬†by conducting research on different¬†job sites.
  • Workshop lead:¬†if you are a student ambassador or a representative of a society, take part in online workshops where you lead and inform students on how to participate in activities and competitions.

Why is volunteering important?

Volunteering is important because it allows you to develop transferable skills whilst also enabling you to give back to your community.

Volunteering grows your skillset, providing you with demonstrable experience of how you overcame challenges, worked well in a team, time managed and so forth.

Having volunteering experience on your CV showcases to prospective employers that you have utilised your free time as a student and balanced extracurricular activities alongside your studies – highlighting your multitasking and organisational capabilities.

If you are a student looking for internships but are having difficulty getting accepted, volunteering is a great alternative.

Unlike internships, volunteering is less competitive because non-profit organisations are always looking for additional helping hands.

And, like with internships, you can gain skills and recognition from volunteering roles through a reference or even a recommendation post on your LinkedIn profile.

What are the benefits of volunteering?

  • Meeting new and inspiring individuals through remote volunteering can help you widen your professional network.

    By networking with professionals online, you can access valuable career-related advice as well as answers to any concerns you may have about the sector in which you volunteer.

    Volunteering can also be a means by which you expand your friendship networks.

    Meeting likeminded peers with similar interests can help you improve your social skills and self-esteem.

  • Whether you are busy with assignments or have a part-time job, you can still volunteer remotely to develop transferable skills.

    Juggling volunteering with busy schedules used to be stressful and appeared nearly impossible, but with the rise of remote options, there is now adaptability and flexibility in the hours and days you have to commit.

  • By volunteering remotely you will have¬†early, first-hand exposure to¬†communicating with others and working on team projects online.

    As many graduate jobs now offer hybrid working, remote volunteering can provide you with the experience you need to build on your confidence in turning on your camera and participating in online meetings.

  • If you are a recent graduate with no idea what to do next, remote volunteering allows you to save money on travel and food while gaining useful experience from the comfort of your own home.

    Because the majority of remote volunteering opportunities are flexible and do not require a long-term commitment, they are an excellent way of trying out different kinds of roles.

    In this way, remote volunteering can help you determine what kind of responsibilities and tasks interest you the most, in turn helping you to determine what kind of career you should pursue.

Does volunteering improve employability?

Book a one-to-one meeting with a careers advisor to support your search in finding a remote volunteering opportunity that will help improve your employability.

When you’ve found a fantastic remote volunteering opportunity, speak with your team lead about what kind of skills¬†you’d like to obtain, what specific responsibilities you’d like to take on, and what insights you’d like to learn from the¬†experience.

Outlining this at the start will guarantee that you get the most out of your experience.

Upon finishing your volunteer work, write reflection pieces in the STAR (situation, task, action, result) format to help you find the link between your experience and your career goals.

Doing this will help you to highlight demonstrable examples of good teamwork skills, effective decision making, leadership skills and so forth in job application and interviews to show that you are fit for the role.

If you are unsure about how to connect your volunteering experience with your job aspirations, speak with your personal tutor or the careers service about transferrable skills.

For example, if you volunteered as a video editor for a charity but want to work in public relations, a career advisor can help you adapt that experience to fit within a PR role.

Video editing involves a lot of creative problem-solving skills that are an essential criterion for a successful public relations professional.

In short, remote volunteering helps to improve your employability by providing you with skills and knowledge that can be transferred to future careers.

If you’re looking for a graduate job and have some great volunteering experience, check out the Give a Grad a Go jobs board for the best UK jobs for graduates!

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