Search
Advice » Job Hunt Strategy» Getting Started » Online Volunteering: A Win-Win ...
Online Volunteering: A Win-Win for Techies, Nonprofits

Online Volunteering: A Win-Win for Techies, Nonprofits

Just because an organization is located thousands of miles away doesn't mean you can't contribute to its mission -- and build your portfolio at the same time -- with your knowledge of HTML or MySQL.

A growing number of organizations are seeking volunteers with technical skills who are willing and eager to work remotely. These online, or "virtual," volunteers produce Web sites, design online graphics, write documentation and even code databases for nonprofit clients involved in a range of issues, such as environmental preservation and international development.

Techies often volunteer to further their careers and to contribute to a worthy cause. Virtual volunteering makes it possible to do both without the hassle of trying to fit an onsite volunteer position into an already-hectic schedule. Plus, volunteering online gives you access to:

  • A broader set of opportunities, making it more likely you'll find a position that requires your skills and matches your goals.
  • A wider choice of groups, letting you find one that matches your interests -- for example, disaster relief or science education.

The virtual workplace has been the great enabler of online volunteering. Email, instant messaging and other tools make working from afar easy. And the projects techies typically work on, such as Web sites and user guides, don't require face-to-face interaction.

Find Your Match

Grassroots.org is a virtual organization that recruits Web designers online through VolunteerMatch, according to Joe Jurczyk, Grassroots.org's former director of programs. Grassroots.org matches a volunteer with an organization, and then the client and volunteer communicate on their own, typically by phone or email.

Web designer Kamini Natarajan says her volunteer work through Grassroots.org, including developing a Web site for a computer center in Puerto Rico, helped her improve her skills and acquire new ones. "Volunteering was one way to get more real-world experience in Web design," says Natarajan, who holds an associate's degree from Pierce College in Los Angeles and other degrees from India.

Because they work remotely, online volunteers can often proceed at their own pace -- within deadline constraints, of course -- as they learn new skills. Hadi Sulistio, now a senior consultant at financial software firm Cartesis, produced his first Web site as a volunteer for InterConnection, a nonprofit that matches Web-savvy volunteers with nonprofits in developing countries that need Web sites built. Through the experience, Sulistio learned HTML, Cascading Style Sheets, JavaScript and other Web technologies. And having the projects under his belt helped when he was job hunting. "I was able to put the Web sites I developed in my resume and use the clients as references," he says.

Jason Willett, VolunteerMatch's director of communications, says many of the volunteer assignments available for techies involve Web design and production, but opportunities also exist to work with databases, write documentation, code games and produce podcasts.

Just beware: Any volunteer experience requires a certain degree of independence, but that is particularly true with virtual ones. "The volunteers have to be self-motivated and have to be able to work alone," says Charles Brennick, director and founder of InterConnection.

Tips for Being a Top-Notch Volunteer

Keep the following in mind when pursuing online volunteer work:

  • Get as much information as you can about the scope of the project, deadlines and other details.
  • Be prepared to supply your own software.
  • Report to your contact regularly. Develop a relationship rather than simply submit a finished product.
  • Don't be afraid to share your ideas and take the initiative with the client. "When you produce quality ideas, people realize that you exist somewhere," Sulistio says.

As for the potential career benefits, the experience can help you build a portfolio, develop your personal network, prove your skills and even get a taste of the vagaries of the workplace. As Natarajan puts it: "Most importantly, [volunteering] helped me work with different types of clients -- some very demanding, some ignorant, some easygoing."

Latest Jobs

Happy Gopher Parcel Express
Posted: 11/01/2014
Florissant, 63034
Fast Lane Classic Cars
Posted: 11/01/2014
Saint Charles, 63301
Chugach Electric Association, Inc
Posted: 11/01/2014
Anchorage, 99515
Beach 95.1
Posted: 11/01/2014
Panama City, 32408
WHITE CHAPEL MEMORIAL GARDENS
Posted: 11/01/2014
Huntington, 25701

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.70.79-204
eTrustLogo