You Can Volunteer Virtually!

These past few years have found many of us with more time, less money, and an abundance of concern for our communities. But not all of us can easily head into retirement centers, affordable health clinics, or animal shelters to lend our energy as volunteers, so how can we foster that support from home?

We’ve compiled a list of ideas for virtual volunteering below. Each section starts with some tips to support the people directly in your network so that you can strengthen existing connections. But don’t stop there—it’s also equally important for us to expand our horizons and help those outside of our spheres, especially if our network is homogenous. For a wide variety of specialized remote volunteer opportunities, start by checking VolunteerMatch, Idealist, or your local volunteer match organizations, like LA Works.

Ultimately it comes down to this: we’re stronger when we’re together, and 2022 requires all the community connection it can muster.

Jump To:

Mental Health // Seniors // Children
Career & Tech // Accessibility & Translation
Human Rights // Art & Archives // Nature & Animals 

Mental Health Support

Find someone in your own network who can benefit from a listening ear.

There’s a heaviness right now that cannot always be borne alone, whether it’s the pandemic, racial inequality, or global instability and war. It probably won’t take you long to find someone in your own network who can benefit from a listening ear. Make a plan to text one friend a day to check in, to offer up a phone call, or to run an errand for them. Or, invite your connections on social media to engage with you privately if they’re experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, or otherwise. Unless you’re a mental health professional, you cannot provide full service to someone, but support can go a long way.

Volunteer Opportunities


Connect with the older people you know by writing letters or running essential errands.

Many seniors, especially those in retirement or assisted living homes, can be isolated from friends and family these days. Connect with the older people you know—neighbors, grandparents, family friends—by writing letters or setting up a regular call or virtual touch base. If you can’t offer emotional support right now, consider picking up groceries or running essential errands to help reduce more vulnerable people’s exposure to COVID-19. The below opportunities are global, but you can make a local impact by calling nearby care homes to see if anyone needs extra outreach.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Help with essential errands like yard work, snow removal, and grocery shopping through Cultivate

  • Adopt a grandparent through CHD Living (UK)

  • Reach out to an elderly person who is experiencing loneliness while living at home through ALONE (Ireland)


Host a virtual storytime or send a care package of simple and engaging activities.

The past few years have posed additional stresses for parents of young children, whose regular resources may no longer be available to them. Additionally, many schools are still wavering between in-person classes and virtual learning, which both carry significant concerns for parents, teachers, and kids alike. If you have friends with kids, host a virtual storytime, or send a care package of simple and engaging activities like crafts, games, or outdoor toys. Especially if you’re volunteering with children directly, look for organizations that do background checks and have policies to ensure protection and privacy for children.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Mentor a teen in creative writing through WriteGirl (Los Angeles, US)

  • Offer your science knowledge to young people through Science Buddies

  • Help students improve their reading skills through Reading Partners, which offers virtual reading tutors based on local school re-openings

  • Narrate audiobooks for children and adults who have “a demonstrated learning disability, visual impairment, or physical disability” through Learning Ally

  • Write a letter to a child experiencing physical illness to brighten their day through Post Pals (UK). You can also write to the child’s siblings. This organization connects volunteer penpals with kids ages 3 through 17

  • Mentor a young person between the ages of 11 and 30 through The Prince’s Trust (UK), which helps people gain skills and confidence, find jobs, and start businesses

Career & Technology

Consider developing a website, offering legal tips, or helping others craft a sharp resume.

If you’re tech-savvy or have a specific skillset, extend your professional support to those around you. Consider developing a website, lending business plan guidance, or offering legal tips to people in your network who are starting their own businesses. And if you’ve got an editorial eye, you can help others craft a sharp resume and polished cover letter.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Support a nonprofit through Catchafire, a certified B Corp that connects volunteers with nonprofits to offer professional services

  • Consult pro bono through Taproot and help nonprofits with projects like social media strategy, HR consulting, business plan creation, financial analysis, and more

  • Engage with entrepreneurs to support their areas of growth as a Micromentor

  • Increase access to’s classes by offering your skills as a translator

Accessibility & Translation

With our increased reliance on tech, it’s important to note that it’s not always accessible to everyone.

With our increased reliance on tech, it’s important to note that it’s not always accessible to everyone. In your own community, reach out to people who might need help setting up a social media account or email address to keep in touch with their loved ones. If you’re multilingual, offer translation support to those in your network. Lend a virtual hand as needed to friends and family with visual or hearing impairments to ensure up-to-date information, resources, and entertainment are available in the formats that best work for them.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Offer visual assistance through Be My Eyes; scan and proofread books for people with reading impairments through Bookshare

  • Translate subtitles for TED Talks so that big ideas can reach more people around the world

  • Support refugees in need of interpreters through Tarjimly, an app founded in response to the Syrian refugee crisis

Justice & Human Rights

Get yourself registered to vote, and encourage others to do the same.

No matter where you look, there’s a cause to fight for right now. Share factual information with your networks about reproductive rights, racial justice, LGBTQ+ equality, and any other causes you’re passionate about. You can tangibly support movements through donations, marching, and urging your local representatives to create systemic change. Don’t forget to register to vote, and encourage others to do the same.

Volunteer Opportunities

Art & Archives

Create a bookshare program or help people explore their family trees.

Supporting the arts and preserving cultural and historical works are more important than ever. Locally, you can invest in art and amplify the voices of artists and writers who inspire you. Create a bookshare program so that your friends and family can diversify their reading list. (Here are some anti-racism book recommendations—be sure to add a few fiction books to your shelf, too!) Help people explore their family trees and connect to their histories, or connect virtually with a grandparent or senior and transcribe their stories for future generations.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Transcribe documents (and fill in missing information on Wikipedia pages!) for the Smithsonian

  • Bring public domain books to life through Librivox by volunteering as a reader, a “prooflistener,” or project coordinator

  • If audio isn’t your thing, help transcribe public domain books into e-books through Distributed Proofreaders

Nature & Animals

Consider doing a neighborhood trash cleanup on your morning walks or serving as a foster parent for animals that need a home.

If your comfort level lies outside of interacting with people, you can make a difference in your community by protecting your environment. Consider doing a neighborhood trash cleanup on your morning walks or when hitting the trails. If you love animals, serve as a temporary or long-term foster parent for dogs, cats, rabbits, and other animals that need a home. Socializing pets before they are adopted is a significant service to the pet’s future owners—and the pet, too.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Contribute to research about space, species, and other sciences through Zooniverse

  • Learn more about birding and contribute your findings to eBird

  • Join a citizen science project on iNaturalist and expand your knowledge about the natural world

Invest your energy wherever you feel you can make the most long-lasting and sustainable impact. Take care of yourself and be open to rest, but remember: in the face of injustice, discomfort is not an excuse to step away entirely. Keep finding ways to come back and rise to the needs of your neighbors, whether literally or virtually.

How are you supporting your community right now? Share your suggestions in the comments below!


Emily Torres is the Editorial Director at The Good Trade. Born and raised in Indiana, she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her in her colorful Los Angeles apartment journaling, caring for her rabbits, or gaming.