Every idea comes with its share of myths. Similarly, there are myths revolving around online volunteering. Online volunteering is taking up volunteering projects for nonprofits and charities over the internet.
Here are some common myths about volunteering online:
- Myth: You need hi-tech or dedicated online tools to volunteer online.
Online volunteering is not an expensive and elaborate program. The basic email, calendars and other tools that you have on you are enough for volunteering online. There are online platforms that already exist where you can sign up and take on projects without having to spend a dime.
Truth: Volunteering online is not an expensive affair. You only require to contribute some time of each day.
- Myth: Online volunteering is depersonalized.
Virtual interactions are not impersonal. Quite often, people open up to others online more easily as compared to a face-to-face interaction. You tend to build more personal relationships with each other and may even extend your interaction beyond the scope of your tasks. Some volunteers have gone for graduation ceremonies or baby showers of their peers.
Truth: Online volunteering is not isolated. You get to connect with different people from all walks of life depending on the projects you take up.
- Myth: Only highly introverted people volunteer online.
Online volunteering might have a certain appeal to introverts. However, we live in an Internet-powered world and all our interactions and networking is online welcoming anyone with a zeal to volunteer. Online volunteering does encourage introverts who find it difficult to interact in a social setting to make an impact. In some cases, the need for interaction is the driving force behind volunteering online.
Truth: All types of people volunteer online. It depends more on the availability of time and resources over personality type.
- Myth: Online volunteers are separate from onsite volunteers and working with one group is completely different from the other.
The myth that online volunteers and onsite volunteers are separate groups is untrue. They don't identify as separate groups either. While online volunteers may not volunteer onsite or vice versa, they might need to interact with each other to stay aligned to the vision of the organization they support. All online or onsite volunteers are treated equally and are given the guidance, feedback, and recognition they require.
If there is a charity event for example, online volunteers might put the flyers together and publicize it on social media, while on site volunteers take care of the physical organization of the event.
Truth: For any organization to be fully functional all the departments need to work together. Volunteers, whether on site or virtual, do not identify themselves as separate groups.
- Myth: Online volunteering is limited to technology-based tasks.
Online volunteering is not limited to tasks based on technology. It goes beyond into the fields of strategy and planning, fundraising and PR, research, human resource, training, marketing, content, design, finance and administration. More than 50% of these programs are not technology-based projects.
For instance, you enjoy being on social media. You can do social media marketing for the NGO. If you are good with finance, you can help out by managing the books.
Truth: You don’t need to be a tech genius to volunteer online. All you need is passion and a skill that you can utilize.