Online volunteering

25 March 2020

With the coronavirus keeping most of us at home for the time being, you may be looking for ways to keep productive and help others at the same time. Try online volunteering.

Virtual VolThe government guidance for the moment is clear, unless you are carrying out an essential role, stay at home. That doesn't mean that you can't volunteer; here are just some of the ways to become an online volunteer. 

Health and support 

  • Crisis Text Line is a free 24/7 national crisis-intervention and counselling service conducted exclusively through text. Crisis Volunteers are asked to commit to between 2-4 hours per week and complete a total of 200 hours. It's a big commitment, and one that people find incredibly rewarding. Find out more
  • CovidCall provide a free phone service for volunteers to provide local people in self-isolation with local advice and social contact. Currently England-based but if you want to create a community you can. 
  • Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call. Find out more

  • Missing Maps informs the relief efforts of organisations such as the British Red Cross. Volunteers use satellite images and a drawing tool to mark up buildings, rivers and roads in remote areas that may not have been mapped before. This helps organisations who are first to respond make more informed decisions about disaster relief. Find out more



  • Project Implicit is a non-profit network of researchers investigating the subconscious way our minds work. Volunteers take psychological tests online to help scientists better understand society’s hidden prejudices and how we might tackle them. Find out more

  • Translators without Borders depend on volunteers to translate millions of words but also to help run their organisation. They work with individuals who have all kinds of great skills but many volunteers also learn new skills that they can apply elsewhere. Find out more
  • Smithsonian Digital Volunteers help make historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible. Join 15,096 "volunpeers" to add to the 518,045 pages of field notes, diaries, ledgers, logbooks, currency proof sheets, photo albums, manuscripts, biodiversity specimens labels that have been collaboratively transcribed and reviewed since 2013. Find out more
  • eBird: Birdwatching with a purpose. Track your bird sightings via the eBird website and become part of a worldwide network of birdwatchers. Your sightings contribute to hundreds of conservation decisions and peer-reviewed papers and help inform global bird research. And, you can explore birds and hotspots near you with dynamic maps that chart every species in the world. Find out more


National and international 

  • The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. Online volunteering allows organisations and volunteers to team up to address sustainable development challenges – anywhere in the world, from any device. Find out more
  • Amnesty Decoders is an innovative platform for volunteers around the world to use their computers or phones to help researchers sift through pictures, documents and other information to research and expose human rights violations. Find out more
  • Catchafire matches individuals with charities based on their time and skills. Mostly US-based. Find out more

  • Volunteer Match have a broad section for people who want to volunteer from home. Their opportunities range from writing emails or newsletters for non-profits to teaching musical instruments and even designing websites. Start by selecting a cause that interests you and then filter the results generated by ‘virtual’. Find out more

Please share other other online opportunities that you think others might appreciate at this time via