As technology continues to evolve and change the way we go about education, work, and recreation, volunteering and public service are changed as well. We started VolunteerSquare on the idea that volunteering and local social media were synonymous, and we're happy to have hundreds of local volunteers along for the ride. See how these volunteer trends for 2014 could affect your service this year.
1. More Telecommuting Opportunities
Volunteering doesn't always have to be on-site! Whether it's logging into a remote agency-based intranet or simply doing work that doesn't have to be at the office like design or social media work, agencies never turn down volunteers and they know people have busy lives. If work can be done from home, ask if part time telecommuting opportunities are available.
If you're a student volunteering during a break, this may let you continue your volunteering on a more part time basis that works for your schedule!
2. Focus On Social Media Support
Nonprofit agencies have embraced social media as a way to communicate their mission, build a support community, and even live tweet during crises. Volunteers of many stripes are frequently asked to support social media endeavors: Developing copy, managing a rapidly moving Twitter feed, or helping host a live online chat.
3. Team-Based Volunteering
Volunteers are rarely solitary people, especially when surrounded by an awesome team of agency employees! As volunteering becomes a popular option for job-seekers and people seeking to sharpen professional skills, expect to be placed on a team of volunteers. In many ways this will mirror the team atmosphere in a workplace, so if you are looking to develop work skills, this is a great place to start!
4. Remote Collaboration
Volunteer teams rarely stay at the office. Volunteers frequently stay in touch with one another remotely through closed Facebook or Google groups, group applications, or even through text messaging or E-mail. Even if it's just to check in on who will be available during a blizzard set to arrive the next day, work no longer stays at work, and neither does volunteering!
5. Increased Responsibilities
We've brought up before that nonprofit agencies sometimes lack the big budget hiring payrolls of corporations. As a result, having more responsibilities than an intern or even entry-level employee is common among volunteers. Given that agencies frequently rely on volunteers as a core component of the agency's work, you can expect very specific responsibility roles you might normally expect at a full time job: Accounting, marketing, management, public relations, and so on. All of that is great for the agency and also great for building your resume, too!
If you aren't volunteering yet now is a great time to start! Check out VolunteerSquare and sign up for our custom e-alerts. We'll keep you in the loop on the local volunteer projects that matter most to you. Check us out on Facebook and Twitter, too!