When asked what volunteering is, one may describe it as going out to your local food drive to hand out goods or a school to help out with painting and building. It has usually been something that you go out and do, but more recently that has changed. These days, many organizations are offering virtual volunteering opportunities for individuals who want to help out from the comforts of their own home. Whether you can’t make it on-site, or feel more comfortable at home, sharing your time and skills virtually can help make a difference.

Virtual Volunteers are able to participate in unique ways that are not so traditional. A few tasks would include web design, data entry, email marketing, and fundraising phone calls. If there is a special event coming up, consider volunteering as the social media manager to spread the word around. This position may include you being on-site on the day of the event but allows you to split up your time by working remotely.

As the shift towards the internet and digital world has become more popular many organizations have created virtual volunteer programs. The Smithsonian created a digital volunteer program that offers positions for volunteers who are willing to transcribe historical documents and even add content to their Wikipedia page. By creating these opportunities, the Smithsonian is able to expand access to their collections with the help of volunteers off-site. There are plenty of well-established organizations that offer programs so do some research and you may be surprised.

However, if you come across a few non-profit organizations in your local community that doesn’t offer a program, don’t be hesitant to offer your services. Go in person or call in to talk with the person in charge of volunteers and ask if there’s anywhere you can help. If you have experience in graphic design or video creation, bring in some samples to show them on the spot. Just because something isn’t asked for, doesn’t mean it’s not needed. Never be afraid to ask volunteers because it’s not likely to be turned down while trying to help make a difference.

Traditional volunteering has always been around and won’t be going anywhere, so take advantage of this opportunity. Virtual volunteering is changing the way people can give back and its appeal could bring new faces to the table. This is the perfect outlet for individuals to step out of their comfort zone and share old and new skills while making a difference.