There are times when we might feel like we can’t do anything; that the world is out of control, and especially out of our grasp. With the way that our lives have been flipped upside down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the continued reports of police violence against the Black community, it is easy to feel like we can’t do anything. We are here to tell you there are multiple ways that you can lend your skills to promoting social justice. As you are staying in and maintaining the recommended physical distance for health and safety, you can remain active and connected to community organizations through virtual volunteering and continued education.
While summer job and internship plans may have changed, virtual volunteering provides an opportunity to contribute your time and skills to a cause that is important to you. Whether it is the BLM movement, LGBTQ rights, or food insecurity due to the pandemic, your online involvement could make a difference for others while furthering your personal and professional development.
So, where do you start? Educate yourself and others. It is important to educate yourself, and those around you, regarding current societal events and injustices. There are many books, movies, and articles by various organizations that will help you become more informed about present situations. Many outlets, such as Netflix, have compiled resources that make it easier to access these materials.
Make a list of nonprofit organizations that work with causes of importance to you. One major positive of virtual volunteering is that you are not restricted by geographic location, so you could get involved locally or across the country. What matters most is that the organization’s mission and actions align with your personal values. Next, determine your available time commitment and how you would like to be involved. What are your career-related interests and what skills are you able to offer an organization? Idealist.org, for example, allows you to select a cause and then plug in a skill such as “writing,” “research” or “graphic design,” to identify opportunities that could be a great match for your values, interests, and skillset. Volunteermatch.org/covid19 is another social service search engine that provides a listing of organizations with a variety of ways to get involved virtually.
Keep in mind that many social movements unfold so quickly that organizations may not have the time and bandwidth to post and update formal volunteer opportunities on these sites. As you research organizations, it is helpful to go directly to the source. Many organizations allow you to sign up for newsletters and listservs to stay informed as opportunities arise. You might also consider sending an email or calling to find out how you could become involved. Most nonprofits are eager to accept those willing to volunteer and you may be able to develop a niche way to make a positive contribution utilizing your unique skills.
To jumpstart your research, take a look at the list below to learn about a few different ways you can make an impact through online action. The suggestions we provided are not the only way that you can support current movements like BLM and others. It is important to research the causes you care about. There are many ways to take part in social action, and this list only covers some of the resources out there. Remember, leave yourself open to learning new things, and know that no matter how small it feels, you are making a difference.
Organizations with opportunities to get involved: