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Top Virtual Volunteer Opportunities for Students
Today’s digital world makes it easier than ever to volunteer from home. Whether over the phone or through the internet, you can participate in your community without ever leaving your couch. From tutoring and crisis support to translating and researching, there’s plenty of online volunteer opportunities out there. Not only is volunteering an excellent way to give back, it’s also a great chance to build your extracurricular resume, win scholarships, and gain experience in your desired career field. In this guide, we’ll cover some of the best online volunteer opportunities that you can seek out.
Related: Top community service scholarships
Top 20 online volunteer opportunities
1. Smithsonian Digital Volunteers
Put your passion for history to use at the Smithsonian Institute, where you’ll transcribe historic documents and records. Through your work, you’ll aid research efforts and help make valuable information more accessible to the public. Not to mention, you’ll get to explore the Smithsonian’s incredible collections of art, history, and science materials.
Zooniverse volunteers contribute to professional research projects in fields such as space, physics, nature, medicine, language, and much more. For instance, you could end up studying images of faraway galaxies, analyzing videos of animals in their natural habitats, or transcribing historical records and diaries. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who wants to build meaningful research experience.
3. United Nations Volunteers
UNV is an excellent opportunity for volunteers who want to have a positive international impact. UNV connects volunteers with organizations around the world committed to peacebuilding, post-conflict recovery, and humanitarian efforts. Volunteers typically perform tasks involving research, writing, art, and design.
4. Amnesty Decoders
This network of digital volunteers helps research and expose human rights violations. Decoders do everything from investigating the source of oil spills to researching online abuse against women. If you’re eager to make a difference in the fight for global human rights, this is a great place to start.
Do Something is a network of online volunteers who use the internet to help solve real-world problems. The platform features a variety of campaigns addressing issues related to voter registration, racism and discrimination, hunger, gun safety, and more. In addition to making a positive impact, students can earn scholarships by volunteering.
6. Translators without Borders
Translators without Borders is a great opportunity for volunteers who are fluent in more than one language. This network of volunteers provides translations to international organizations committed to crisis relief, health, and education. There’s a similar organization called Tarjimly, which is committed to eliminating language barriers for refugees and asylum seekers.
Audiopedia is an online collection of audible knowledge for illiterate rural women. The platform contains relevant questions and answers about health, nutrition, family planning, childcare, work, and more. The site needs volunteers to translate and record this information into different languages.
8. TED Translate
Another organization dedicated to translation services; this one is perfect for TED Talk enthusiasts. TED Translators subtitle TED Talks, enabling inspiring ideas to transcend borders and languages. The organization currently features over 40,000 translators working in 115 different languages.
9. Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7 text line for people in crisis in the U.S. It’s powered by remote volunteers who answer texts and help support people in moments of need. This is an excellent volunteer opportunity for students pursuing careers as social workers, therapists, psychiatrists, or guidance counselors. Applicants must be 18 years or older and willing to commit at least 200 hours of service. Similar organizations include Empower Work and IMALIVE.
10. The Trevor Project
The purpose of the Trevor Project is to provide support to LGBTQ youth. Trevor volunteers work to create a safe online space for young people struggling with issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity, depression, and suicide. Volunteers provide support via phone, text, and chat.
11. National Sexual Assault Hotline (NSAH)
Operated by RAINN, the NSAH provides crisis counseling to victims of sexual assault and their loved ones. Applicants must be 18 years or older, and be willing to work a schedule of set shifts that may include nights and weekends. The commitment is sizable, but it’s an incredible way to provide much-needed support to survivors and their loved ones.
12. Caring Calls
This organization matches volunteers with senior citizens seeking companionship and connections. As a volunteer, you’ll hop on the phone and chat with older adults experiencing isolation and loneliness. Applicants must be 18 years or older, and be willing to serve about 30 minutes per week for eight weeks. Lifetime Connections Without Walls is a similar organization.
13. Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is a free app dedicated to making the world more accessible for blind and low-vision individuals. The app is powered by volunteers who help people perform daily tasks ranging from reading instructions to navigating surroundings. Volunteers have flexible hours and work remotely through video calls.
14. Cards for a Cause
If you enjoy arts and crafts, this is a great chance to put your talents to good use. Volunteers at this organization make uplifting cards to send to hospitalized and seriously ill children. The organization makes cards for all major holidays, making this a year-round volunteer opportunity.
15. Writing Wonders Organization
Similar to Cards for a Cause, this organization spreads kindness and positivity through letters, art, and messages. Founded in 2020 during the midst of COVID-19, Writing Wonders is particularly focused on supporting children, healthcare workers, and the elderly. This is a powerful way to uplift people struggling with difficult circumstances.
16. Oakwood Education Foundation
This foundation exists to fight educational inequality and support students attending underfunded and under equipped schools. The foundation needs volunteers to tutor students in a variety of subjects ranging from math and science to history and English. You can tailor your time spent volunteering to fit your schedule and area of expertise.
17. Learn to Be
Learn to Be is an online tutoring platform that helps underserved children perform better in school. Volunteers work 1-on-1 with the same student each week helping them achieve their academic goals. Besides having a positive impact, other perks for volunteers include gaining school credit and building experience for a service-oriented career.
18. The Kids Circle Foundation
Kids Circle is dedicated to enriching the lives of children by providing them guidance, support, tutoring, and companionship. Volunteers can sign up to be tutors or get involved in areas such as web development, graphic design, blog writing, and social media. This opportunity is mainly for high school students, but others are welcome.
19. Distributed Proofreaders
Those who love books and have a keen attention to detail might find a good match with Distributed Proofreaders. Volunteers are tasked with proofreading books and preparing them for submission to Project Gutenberg, a free e-book library. For anyone pursuing a career in writing or editing, this is a great resume booster.
Another platform geared toward bookworms, LibriVox is an online collection of free audiobooks. Volunteers are needed to record audio versions of books in the public domain, making them available for free on the Internet. You don’t need any prior experience to volunteer.
Also see: Guide to winning local scholarships
More online volunteer opportunities
If you haven’t found what you’re looking for, try using the following search engines to discover other online volunteer opportunities:
Online volunteer opportunities are a great way to make positive change and build your resume. But they’re not the only sort of work you can find online. You can look for online jobs for college students, or become an online tutor. These are both great and convenient ways of accomplishing things and building them around a busy college schedule.
And if you’re into volunteering, check out our list of community service scholarships – your hard work might pay off in the form of college funds! Finally, to find more scholarship opportunities for students of any grade level, interest, or demographic, try our free Scholarships360 search tool. We’ll show you custom-matched, vetted scholarship opportunities. Happy hunting!
Also see: Scholarships360 college major guides