In an economy driven by numbers, efficiency and the bottom line, it’s not always easy finding the time to volunteer.
But what about virtual volunteering - sharing your skills, knowledge or time from the comfort of your desk?
By connecting to causes online, individuals and groups can get involved with social change and have a real impact.
“Technology has opened so many doors for the social sector,” said Andy Hadfield, chief executive of Forgood, an online platform that connects people with more than 500 reputable causes across South Africa.
“Citizens and businesses are eager to become socially active and engaged, but they are often strapped for time. Virtual volunteering, besides being quick, simple and easy, allows people to do good from anywhere at any time - even from an office cubicle.
“Employee engagement and commitment to a company are increasingly influenced by the way the business engages with its employees as well as the larger social sector in which it operates. With virtual volunteering, employees can become active social citizens without having to leave the office.
“The benefit of this for business is increased morale and increased staff retention.
“An added bonus is that employee-volunteer hours can be incorporated into a company’s CSI mandate, which contributes to its BEE ratings. It’s a win-win scenario for all,” said Hadfield.
Why is virtual volunteering taking off?
* It’s inclusive. Anyone with access to a computer can participate, including those with restricted mobility or other special needs. Parents with young children and family obligations can get involved.
* It offers variety. Virtual volunteering traditionally has suited tasks like graphic design, social media management, editing and research work. Increasingly, it is branching out to include things like mentorship, proposal writing, strategic assistance, translation and counselling.
To become a virtual volunteer, visit the “Virtual Volunteering” section at www.forgood.co.za/Campaign/Index/Virtual -Volunteering; respond to an existing need, or put up an offer at www.forgood.co.za/Offer/).
Taking your interests and skills into account, Forgood will connect you to a worthy cause or distribute your offer to those causes that can make use of your virtual contribution.