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Your Complete Guide to Virtual Volunteering

Tuesday 03-11-2020 - 17:28

I know you’re all totally tired of hearing the dreaded words ‘COVID’, ‘lockdown’, and ‘isolation’. As exhausting as it is to be here in this situation again, we all have our bit to do to look after our community. Liverpool is known as a city that is kind, strong and neighbourly, and now is the time to band together and follow the guidelines to protect the most vulnerable in our community.

We won’t dwell on COVID too much, ‘cause we all know you’re probably sick to the back teeth of hearing and thinking about it now. This week’s blog post is about something MUCH more exciting and exhilarating… employability! *queue the cheers and applause*.

Seriously though, your employability is super important, and the current situation has made it even harder than it already was to gain experience, improve your employability and build up that CV! We’re here to make it just a little easier for you, so sit back and enjoy our complete guide to virtual volunteering!

What is Virtual Volunteering?

It’s exactly what it sounds like! Due to COVID, most face-to-face volunteering opportunities, work experience and internships have been put on hold. While many of these opportunities can’t be moved onto a virtual space, some of them can, and there are other opportunities available virtually that maybe you never would’ve considered but can be equally rewarding!

Either way, virtual volunteering is here to make sure you still have the opportunity to gain some experience and boost that CV right from the comfort and safety of your bedroom! Many of them only require a few hours per week, and many of them only require you to have access to the internet. We’ve compiled a list of opportunities based on how potentially useful they can be to you, the experience you will gain from the opportunity and how manageable the opportunities are for all of you who are balancing your studies too.

The Opportunities:

Caudwell Children:

Our first official external volunteering partner of the year, Caudwell Children are looking for Disability Energy Champion Volunteers. As a Disability Energy Champion Volunteer, it will be your responsibility to work closely with the families of disabled children to support them, assist them and assist in conducting home surveys. While COVID restrictions are in place, all activity will be taking place over Zoom. Caudwell Children require around 3 hours per week for a minimum of 6 months. If you’re interested in this role, you can apply here.

United Nations Volunteers:

Oh, you REALLY want to stand out from the crowd? There’s not much that’s as impressive as ‘United Nations Volunteer’ on a CV. One of the benefits of virtual volunteering is we’re able to take on opportunities that we previously wouldn’t have been able to take on because of geographical location, and this one is a prime example of that! United Nations are looking for virtual volunteers in quite possibly every sector going. No matter your skillset or aspirations, there’s something here for you. From Art & Design, to Translation, to Copywriting, to Administration and so much more. You can even virtually volunteer to help with the UN’s COVID response, you can literally volunteer to help end the pandemic! If you want to browse the catalogue of virtual volunteering opportunities, just click here.

Amnesty Decoders:

This opportunity not only allows you to do some good across the world, but it also sounds super cool. An initiative started by the world-renowned human rights organisation Amnesty International, Amnesty Decoders is a network of digital volunteers who work together to research and expose human rights violations across the world. If you become an Amnesty Decoder, you have the opportunity to work on projects that decode oil spills to track exact locations, you can track airstrikes happening across the world, or you can join the ‘Troll Patrol’, a project that has most recently analysed hundreds of thousands of abusive tweets sent to female Indian politicians. Interested? Click here.

Shout:

This opportunity is perfect for anyone who is seeking a career in mental health nursing, or for anyone who is just passionate about helping others! Shout is a crisis text line service that anyone who is struggling with a crisis can contact and receive support for free. As a volunteer, you would be the person on the other end of the phone dealing with people in crisis and helping to give them the right support. Don’t worry if this sounds overwhelming, though, as all volunteers are given full training before dealing with any person in crisis! This is also an incredible opportunity to build on your communication skills, as well as crisis management and problem-solving! Shout are always looking for volunteers, if you want to sign up just click here.

Fcancer:

Fcancer is a super cool service that allows you to put your best skills to work, practice and develop them and help out cancer charities in the process. In FCancer’s words, it works like this: let’s say there’s a cancer charity that needs a photographer to photograph a fundraising event, but they can’t fit that into their budget. Meanwhile, you’re a budding photographer looking for any excuse to practice and would love to help out a great cause, Fcancer matches the two of you up and it’s a win-win! It’s not just photographers they’re looking for, either. There are postings for writers, social media guru’s, dancers, lawyers, and the list goes on and on. See if you can help a cancer charity and gain some experience here.

Mindless Academy:

What started out as blog focussing on Fashion + Stuff That Matters by LJMU alum Laurie Stewart, Mindless Mag has blossomed into a ground-breaking publication and business with employees around the world. Along with Mindless Mag, there’s the Mindless Academy, a Digital Micro-Internship providing short-term, high value, online work experience to students worldwide. Mindless Mag has one mission, to elevate consciousness through the art of digital storytelling. If you’re passionate about writing, sustainability, conscious consumption or fashion, this one’s right up your alley! Mindless Mag is working in partnership with universities all over the world. However, if you attend LJMU you can submit your application of interest directly by emailing ljmu@mindlessacademy.com! Just submit your name, your course, your year of study and 150 words explaining why you want to undertake the Digital Micro-Internship with Mindless Academy. Check out Mindless Mag here!

Catchafire:

Similar to Fcancer, Catchafire is a skills matching volunteer service that allows you to voluntarily offer your expertise! If you are a wiz at social media or know your way around some editing software, there are some non-profits that could certainly use your help! The website is updated daily with charities and organisations across the world looking for designers, writers, photographers, translators, there really is something for everyone! Once you’ve found the perfect opportunity all you have to do is apply with Catchafire’s 2-question application process. It’s that simple! Start looking for your next opportunity here.

JMSU Volunteering:

We have a range of volunteering opportunities available to you right here at JMSU! From our Buddy Scheme to Isolation Support, there's so much you can do to improve your skills, work on your employability and help your community all at the same time. We regularly update the volunteering opportunities throughout the year to include some exclusive external opportunities with organisations like the LFC Foundation. Register to be a JMSU Volunteer here to stay up to date! 

Work Experience top tips:

  • If there’s a cause or business that you are passionate about or an industry that you want to enter, start to follow some related social media accounts and reach out! Most businesses will be grateful for the help with their social media, blog, or customer relations
  • Treat your volunteer opportunity with the same level of professionalism as if you're being paid for it. You may not receive any monetary compensation for your work, but many organisations will be more than happy to provide you with a reference or even a letter of recommendation that you can use when you start to look for paid employment. 
  • Not having any luck with applying for internships or work experience? Start your own! Starting a lockdown project or small business is the perfect way to gain experience and show future employers that you’re a self-starter who creates opportunity! Think about what you’re good at and go from there. There’s so much you can do from starting a blog to selling crafts – just make sure you get as much out of it as you can! Set up social media accounts to learn social media marketing, use a web builder to build your own website and learn about web design, the list goes on! See how far you can take it and ta-da! You’ve created your own work experience!

We hope this has helped and maybe given you all some useful guidance for virtual volunteering. Remember, as hard as this situation is right now, if you can show future employers that you were able to attain work experience during COVID, you’re already showing them how adaptable and resilient you are. You got this!

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