That's a great question - colleges should be more lenient with volunteering experience. I work on a Social Impact team at a tech company, specifically on volunteer opportunities for our employees. A lot of nonprofits have switched to a virtual volunteer model with COVID-19. There are two ways you can search for virtual volunteer opportunities:
- volunteer aggregators: these are websites that collect a wide array of virtual volunteer opportunities. Websites like Points of Light (https://www.pointsoflight.org/virtual-volunteering-opportunities/), VolunteerMatch (https://www.volunteermatch.org/virtual-volunteering), and Idealist (https://www.idealist.org/en/careers/how-to-virtual-volunteering) are great places to start
- contact nonprofits you are interested in directly - not all nonprofits have the capacity to update their websites for information about virtual volunteering. I would recommend emailing or calling them to inquire about virtual volunteer activities. Some nonprofits might need more long-term support too.
Good luck and I hope you find a virtual volunteer opportunity you enjoy!
Andrew recommends the following next steps:
Colleges will certainly be understanding of what is going on, but they will also value creativity and initiative. In other words, they will want to see how you managed to stay involved even with everything going on. Look for opportunities to get involved as a volunteer virtually. With a lot of classes moving online, maybe you can get involved as a virtual tutor or mentor. Use Google as a resource and do some research on opportunities that might be available to you. Try to be creative and see how you can continue to stay involved. Maybe instead of volunteering, you are able to take this time to work on your networking skills and reach out and connect with industry professionals. Colleges will be understanding of what is going on, but they will probably look at this time period negatively if you chose to do nothing to better yourself or your career, so find ways to get involved.
At least that is what history has taught us. The best way to get your volunteer hours is to be creative. Right now there are a lot of volunteer opportunities online. Tutoring, mentoring, stem programs, and or helping small businesses get started are just a few, All the non-profit organizations have had to move their resources online so that they can still reach their communities and receive their funding. Please see link below.
Don't leave it up to the universities to excuse your lack of volunteer hours. Put yourself in the best light, by extending and demonstrating your ability to look for opportunities outside the box.
You can also organize a virtual volunteer session with friends , including hosting online learning or leading a virtual reading class for students in your area. Reach out to your local library and see if there's a way to get involved!