Nonprofit organizations are always in need of volunteer and financial support, but it is not always possible to provide that support in person. However, many organizations have opportunities to lend a hand remotely.
Being at home should not stop you from giving back if you can. Here are some of the organizations we love with information about how you can help.
Become a Remote Volunteer
Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7 text line for people in crisis. Its Crisis Counselors are volunteers working remotely and have stepped up during the COVID-19 outbreak to aid those who need it. They provide their volunteers with 30 hours of training rooted in researched methods of communication, counseling, and intervention. Odd hour volunteers are especially needed at this time.
As we practice social distancing, it is important to keep connected to others. Letters of Love is working hard to connect elders with others through handwritten letters from volunteers. They believe the small gesture of a heartwarming letter can improve someone’s day, especially our elders who are staying safe by remaining physically distant from others. Letters are delivered to nursing facilities, senior centers, and assisted living homes across the country.
If you have professional skills that nonprofits need, Taproot Foundation can connect you with organizations directly. Many nonprofits are operating under tight budgets with limited staff and need volunteer assistance. Almost all assistance can be done virtually, and Taproot hosts regular virtual “marathons” of help you can join in on.
Sew Face Masks for Your Local Hospital
If you can sew, you can help your community. Many local healthcare centers and hospitals are accepting donations for cloth masks which you can make at home. While cloth masks are not as effective as medical masks or N-95 respirator masks, they can ease the need for masks where appropriate. You can view a list of hospitals currently accepting donations here, and more information on how to create masks is available here.
Search for Volunteer Opportunities
Many volunteer portals are helping volunteers find opportunities to do from home. VolunteerMatch and All for Good are two services which are helping match skilled volunteers to projects that can be completed from home.
Visit the website of your local library, public school, food pantry, or place of worship to check for at-home volunteer opportunities including virtual fundraising, connecting neighbors online, or organizing volunteers who are healthy and can leave home.
Speak Out Online
Even if you don’t see a direct volunteer opportunity available to you, you can elevate the voices of meaningful organizations online. By sharing on social media, through email, and text, you can host your own personal fundraising campaign, raise awareness, become an advocate for others, and connect people with nonprofits that resonate with them.
Support a Nonprofit
The Innocence Project is a 501(c)(3) that helps exonerate wrongfully incarcerated individuals using DNA testing. Founded in 1992 by Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck while they were attending Cardozo School of Law, The Innocence Project has helped free 367 people including 21 who were on death row. Their mission is, “to free the staggering number of innocent people who remain incarcerated, and to bring reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment.” Read some of their success stories here.
You can help remotely by signing petitions that will help exonerees receive compensation, move cases forward in the legal system, and help change laws. Click here to sign petitions.
New York City Relief is a nonprofit organization that serves the homeless community in NYC. Volunteers around the city come together to support and guide people to resources such as food, hygiene kits, housing, clothing, and employment. The homeless community is one of the most vulnerable ones during this outbreak of COVID-19.
As a part of the movement to end hunger, Rise Against Hunger connects passionate volunteers with people in need worldwide. They have created a global movement of individuals working together toward a common goal and have distributed aid around the world.
Sign Rise Against Hunger’s advocacy pledge to urge political leaders to make hunger, poverty, and increased opportunity a priority. Rise Against Hunger’s Public Policy Agenda aligns with U.N. Sustainable Development Goal #2: Zero Hunger.
Children of Promise supports and embraces children of incarcerated parents. The organization is headquartered in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, one of the highest concentrated areas of children with incarcerated parents in NYC. The organization’s foundation consists of one-on-one mentoring, after school mentoring, summer camps, family engagement, and mental health services. Starting March 23, Children of Promise is offering virtual services, scheduling calls with all after school counselors and their mentees for tele-therapy sessions. They are also preparing hot meals, distributing art supplies, and sending relevant academic packets to those in need.
Children of Promise is accepting new volunteer applications and are supporting and training new volunteers virtually, matching new volunteers with children on the waiting list. Go here to apply to volunteer, or here to donate to their COVID-19 emergency relief fund.
Thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth and young adults are homeless in New York City. Whether they have been kicked out by homophobic families, forced to flee conservative communities, aged out of foster care, or come from families torn apart by poverty, AIDS, drug abuse or eviction, these sleep in the city’s parks, on the subway, and in public facilities.
New Alternatives is an organization that helps LGBTQ+ homeless youth transition out of the shelter system to stable adult lives. They provide basic needs like home made meals, hygiene supplies, Metrocards, and referrals for primary care and psychiatric support. They also offer weekly case management, education services, life skills training, recreational activities, and programs for HIV+ youth.
DonorsChoose is a nonprofit organization that allows teachers to get direct support from everyday people. Because of the immense burden our public school systems face, teachers are often left on their own financially to create fulfilling and meaningful experiences for their students. Since 2000, DonorsChoose has fulfilled over 1.3 million teacher projects, totaling over $950 million in funding.
As we enter a new phase of remote teaching across the country, many teachers need help, whether it be technology training, software, or supplies for at-home teaching. With 84% of public schools already having had posted projects on DonorsChoose, the need is clearly present. Visit their website, browse projects that speak to you, and donate as little as one dollar today.
God’s Love We Deliver is a secular organization that prepares and delivers high-quality meals to individuals who are unable to prepare meals themselves. The organization was founded in 1986 in response to the AIDS crisis and now delivers more than two million meals to over 8,000 clients annually across the five boroughs of NYC, parts of New Jersey, and Westchester and Nassau counties.
They are in need of volunteers to help keep their operations running smoothly during the COVID-19 crisis. Volunteers assist with meal preparation, packaging, and delivery. If you are healthy, you can sign up to volunteer, or provide support remotely by making a donation.