Tips for Successful Volunteering During COVID-19


Group of young women volunteers helping to keep nature clean by picking up the garbage from park.

Volunteering during COVID-19 can be fraught with safety concerns and challenges, but we’ve provided a few tips to help you feel safe while giving back. 

  1. Go with your gut: There are still many organizations that are having in-person activities with increased precautions (e.g., taking temperature checks, having volunteers maintain physical distance, sanitizing equipment between users, and more), so if you feel safe to volunteer in person, go for it! However, if anything feels off, or you don’t see an organization taking the necessary precautions, leave immediately and tell them (politely) your concerns. For other ideas on ways to help, check out our infographic. 
  2. People in need are all around you: You don’t have to go far to find someone who might need your help. That’s the bedrock behind this year’s YALIServes campaign: A small act to you might be a huge help to someone else. Check out our small acts of service blog and infographic for inspiration. 
  3. Location, location, location: Look for organizations that are close to home. Not only will you get to see the fruits of your labor within your immediate community, but you might also make some lasting connections! 
  4. Know your limits: Volunteer to do tasks you enjoy. By being honest with yourself about what you enjoy doing, you’ll be better able to serve the organizations and communities that you’re working with. Organizations, and the people that you’ll help, have a broad range of needs, so it’s best to use your talents while enjoying the work that you’re doing. 
  5. Follow your passion: Volunteering should be fun while also helping your community. Figure out an activity that resonates with you and find a way to help others while doing something that you enjoy. For example, if you enjoyed being read to as a child, find a program that will pair you with a child in need. This will allow you to stay engaged, while bringing the love of storytelling to the next generation!
  6. Buddy up: Volunteering alone for an organization can be daunting, but bringing a friend along makes it fun and helpful. You’ll be able to catch up, while helping others in your community.  
  7. Start your own volunteer effort: Can’t find something that you like after searching nearby and online? Start your own project (or volunteer effort)! There’s always something that you can do to help someone else either within your community or abroad. 
  8. Virtual volunteerism is on the rise: While virtual platforms can provide a few challenges, they also provide the opportunity to volunteer in new and exciting ways. There are many ways that you can use your skills to help others. Bring your perspective to nonprofit organizations by joining their board, motivate others to volunteer by hosting a virtual ‘pep rally,’ or join a WhatsApp group to share your expertise. The only limit is the virtual platform meeting time limit!

Created with inspiration from Johns Hopkins Medicine.



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