Welcome to the era of the virtual volunteering

Though 2020 has come with its share of challenges, it’s also been met by heroes of every kind. And now, consumers themselves are stepping up to the frontlines to help, for what we’re calling ‘the online frontline.’ These everyday citizens have had an increasing interest in volunteering since the pandemic started, and now they can make a difference—right from their couch. The organizations below are just a few of the many ways consumers are helping out from home.


Freshly-launched National Assignment calls for students and seasoned professionals to leverage their unique skills and talents to support small and local businesses struggling during the pandemic. Volunteers can offer a range of services—such as web design, e-commerce, and even Covid-19 business model consulting—to help modernize marketing for such firms. These projects not only have the potential to lead to future opportunities for the volunteers, but truly help to draw in consumers to shop at—and ultimately save—these small businesses. The clever concept was created by Nicolas Heller (perhaps better known as @NewYorkNico), a long-time resident and champion of NYC who also put a social media spotlight on local companies in his 2019 initiative, #MomNPopDrop.


We’ve all seen or heard of some truly bizarre ‘quack’ coronavirus cures, but now the United Nations is cracking down on this “infodemic” of baseless conspiracies raging across social media, especially in low- and middle-income countries. To solve this, the U.N. has enlisted over 10,000 digital volunteers across multiple countries to monitor their own social channels and step in to correct misinformation. Current volunteers include fact checkers in Colombia and UK-based journalists who aim to use their communication skills to aid public health.


“The Last Weekends” initiative hopes to "mobilize mass volunteer action across the country during the final weeks of the November elections." The campaign, managed by Swing Left, calls for volunteers across the country to help write letters, make phone calls, and host online fundraisers aimed at getting out the vote. You might recognize some of the organization’s volunteers, such as Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and the cast of The West Wing. As they say, don’t just vote—volunteer.