“Yeah but I still don’t get the idea of this e-volunteering.” Everyone new to the e-volunteering feels the same about the project of virtual volunteering since we had started working on it. Remembering that, we made a great effort to create as clear definition of it as possible:
E-volunteering – voluntary tasks or work carried out either as a whole or partially via Internet on a computer accessible at home or elsewhere one has access to the Web. Although the work is done in the virtual reality, its results are notable to the real world.
E-volunteering is a volunteer work conducted via the Internet. It is often called also virtual volunteering, cyber volunteering, digital volunteering, online volunteering, but it always refers to work where an online system (accessed through a computer, a mobile device, etc.) plays a key role in recruitment, facilitating access to tasks, and conducting that tasks [source]. And there are plenty of activities that can be done via the Internet:
free Web counseling, translating documents, researching information, editing or writing proposals, press releases, newsletter articles, forming assistance and self-help groups, moderating online discussion groups, coordinating campaigns, creating web pages, teaching on-line courses, providing expertise, designing graphics, editing videos, creating podcasts, monitoring the news, tagging photos and files, offering feedback and many, many more!
Internet can be a great tool for organizations, non-profits, companies and all those active people who want to change the world for the better. Virtual activities overcome the barriers of space and time, so they are accessible for everyone. No matter where you live – in small village or in a huge city, through the Internet you can support every project you want.
Unfortunately, every time we hear the term ‘e-volunteering’ we are left with many reservations. Definitely, this form of volunteering sounds very puzzling but most of the European non-government organizations already make use of it.But let’s start over.
E-volunteering, as the name suggests, has a lot to do with the traditional volunteering. To become a virtual volunteer, one needs the same motivation which is helpful in the real life: a want to involve oneself in social matters. Volunteering on the Web, similarly to “the real one” bases on altruism, the want of helping other people, improvement of the surrounding space and readiness to involve our time and skills selflessly. Nonetheless, e-volunteering brings new quality due to the fact of being virtual. Using the Internet in volunteering brings new perspectives: it allows to defeat constraints of time and space, opens new areas and ways of cooperation and adds a global dimension to the work.
Sounds easy? Not necessarily. E-volunteering activity both in Poland and abroad is extremely varied. For this reason people have lots of questions, first and most important of these being:
Who is an e-volunteer and what he can do? Even if we think we don’t know any e-volunteers in person, we may be wrong. Thanks to them the animals living in animal shelters are taken to their new homes, we can use the resources collected on Wikipedia every day, read the recent news on the citizen journalism websites or receive specialized help from Amazons when a relative suffers from breast cancer. It is difficult to enumerate all the activities of the e-volunteers in Europe and in the whole world. The Internet changes every day which gives way to new types of activities. Among the other e-volunteering activities we can enumerate the following: blogs running, forums and websites administration, text translation and edition, fundraising, searching the materials on the Web, legal services, counselling and self-help, graphic and video documents creation, foreign language teaching or promotional activities in the Internet (viral marketing).
See examples of great e-volunteering initiatives:
– “E-volunteering – closer than you thought!’ series, that will show you practical examples of different types of e-volunteering. You’ll gonna be surprised with the fact, that when you were attending internet forums or pinning something to the e-map you might been e-volunteers without taking it into consideration!
– check our database of interesting e-volunteering projects and pick something for yourself – there are plenty of opportunities to act on-line! :)
[translation made by an e-volunteer – THANK YOU!]