This blog originally appeared on DoSomething.org.
The coronavirus pandemic has kept a lot of students home for longer than anyone could’ve expected, and with all that extra time indoors, it’s easy to feel a little aimless. If you’re looking for a sense of purpose amid the chaos, consider safely volunteering online from the comfort of your home. Volunteering online lets you donate your virtual time to a cause that matters, which means you can make a difference even if you can’t physically go somewhere to volunteer. Check out the list below to learn about a few different ways you can create a real-life impact through online action.
United Nations Volunteers
If you’re looking to take your online volunteering worldwide, this is the place to start. United Nations Volunteers connects you with organizations working for peace and development in need of skills like research, writing, art, and design. There are already over 12,000 volunteers from 187 countries lending their talents to organizations around the globe.
Catchafire is a volunteer search tool exclusively for online volunteer projects. Each one has a timeline that can range anywhere from an hour to a few weeks. So whether you have an afternoon or several, you can help nonprofit organizations with tasks like writing thank-you letters or editing photos.
Smithsonian Digital Volunteers
The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, but even they could use a little help sometimes. Through Smithsonian Digital Volunteers, you can help make their collections more accessible by volunteering online to transcribe historical documents or edit Wikipedia articles related to their artifacts and research.
Crisis Text Line
Here’s a perfect example of technology being used for good. You can become a volunteer to help the Crisis Text Line continue to offer free, 24/7 support for those in a crisis. If you’re at least 18 years old and can commit to volunteering four hours each week, you can apply to be trained for free.
Translators Without Borders
Students who are fluent in more than one language should check out Translators Without Borders, a nonprofit that combines language skills with humanitarian aid. Volunteers can provide translations (10 million words a year!) to international organizations that focus on crisis relief, health, and education.
Zooniverse is a platform for people-powered research that literally wouldn’t be possible (or practical) without the help of online volunteers. After you register, you can spend as much or as little time as you’d like identifying endangered animals, classifying galaxy systems, or transcribing Shakespearean manuscripts, among other research opportunities.
Founded in 1971, Project Gutenberg may just be the virtual volunteering effort that started it all. Their main goal is to create the largest digital library, and so far, they’ve amassed 59,000 free ebooks. You can volunteer by donating eligible materials, transcribing books into a digital form, or proofreading others’ work.
All these online opportunities prove that you can’t use the pandemic as an excuse to put volunteering on hold. Though in-person projects may not be widely available, you can find valuable work online to help make a difference in the world while boosting your résumé or college applications—a real win-win!
There are even more ways you can volunteer online—read the full blog on DoSomething.org to learn more. You can also learn about the importance of volunteering on your college applications here on CollegeXpress!