Me in fropnt of some Koru art wearing a black blazer over a blue top

Help out in cyberspace

September 28, 2011

Originally printed in Eastern Bay Couriers

Did you know you can be a volunteer from the comfort of your own home?

Amnesty International New Zealand IT manager Vivian Chandra now has a social networking strategy. It’s thanks to Virtual Volunteering, which allows professionals to offer their expertise online.

The initiative was introduced by Volunteering Auckland at it’s 21st birthday celebrations last week.

Charities post tasks they need professional help with online. They may require design, IT, web development, law or finance expertise and generally take no more than two hours.

“It’s basically a great pool of people who are willing to help non-profit organisations. They bring a different set of skills,” Ms Chandra says.

She posted three challenges for Amnesty International’s Grafton office and one has already been completed by a virtual volunteer.

Am hour-long phone call from a man with a corporate marketing background was what Ms Chandra needed to work out a social networking strategy for the charity.

“That helped us cement some ideas. I’ve now been able to work out a more cohesive strategy,” she says.

Volunteering Auckland general manager Cheryll Martin says the system, run via networking site LinkedIn, is a great way to fit volunteer work into increasingly busy lives.

“It’s awesome. It’s what’s been needed for a long time. Being able to do something online in a short space of time means you can make that commitment to do something.”

Virtual Volunteering is being developed by a group of professionals as part of the Committee for Auckland’s Future Auckland Leaders programme.

The pilot project has been kept small with a pool of 112 online volunteers and eight non-profit organisations.