Volunteers contribute greatly to nonprofit organizations. According to the 2018 Volunteering in America report, 77 million people volunteered in the United States. These volunteers make significant impacts on the organizations they are serving and doing volunteer work not only benefits others, it benefits the volunteers as well. Many companies have taken the initiative to encourage workers to volunteer in their time off or have dedicated days to put towards service events. But, what can your company do to encourage employees to continue serving their communities while ensuring their safety during the COVID-19 pandemic?
COVID Effects on Volunteering
COVID-19 has restricted the work people have been able to participate in. To prevent the unintentional spread of the virus, gathering is discouraged and attending in-person volunteering is not as feasible as it was before. Many are choosing to stay home to protect themselves and their families from being exposed. This means that communities nonprofits serve will start seeing a lag in service or decreases in resources available. There are many reports that nonprofits are struggling to keep up with the workload due to the decrease in volunteer numbers. For example, Hunger Task Force, Inc. doesn’t have enough volunteers to help pack food boxes for seniors living in the Milwaukee area. COVID-19 has changed the way we go about our lives, but many have found ways to continue supporting their communities through volunteer work while staying safe.
Socially Distanced Volunteering Opportunities
Safe volunteering can take place at home. There are plenty of needs that still need to be addressed even in a pandemic.
Virtual Volunteering Opportunities
Virtual volunteering events have also emerged in the past few months. These events can be just as beneficial as those that are taking place in person.
Group Volunteering Under Safe Conditions
Nonprofits looking to host in-person events still have the option to do so by taking advantage of outdoor spaces. Some have invited the community to a local park with socially distanced work stations for each household to work on service projects like blanket making, card writing, or food or toy collections. The key guidelines to keep in mind are to maintain distance, sanitize often, ask those who show symptoms to stay home, and implement tools so contract tracing is easy in case there is an exposure.
While the pandemic has shut down many activities, it’s important to continue encouraging acts of service. Especially in times of global crisis, these volunteer hours can end up being more impactful than before. Whether your company decides to look into remote volunteering projects or seek out safe and socially distanced opportunities, the work provided will make a difference in the lives of others.