The advancement of technology has brought us endless benefits. We can now video chat with a friend across the world for free. We can watch our favorite movies on the plane, at the park or in the car. In an emergency we can contact our loved ones instantly.
In my role at Symantec, technology has completely changed the volunteering landscape. How, you might ask? A key way is through the advent, and now increase, of virtual volunteering opportunities. With virtual volunteering employees can now volunteer from their desk, their home, or wherever they have an Internet connection. This is huge for so many people, who may be deterred from volunteering due to time or life contstraints, or may not find a local opportunity that matches their interests.
For example, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) helps both volunteers and development organizations find online volunteering opportunities (or volunteers) through their onlinevolunteering.org website. The UNV program is a great example of the breadth of opportunities that arise by enabling ‘virtually’ anyone in the world to contribute. UNV OVs have helped UNDP Brazil spread the word about the Rio+20 Dialogues, translated key documents for a local project in the Issyk-Kul area of Kyrgyzstan, produced a 400 page informational backgrounder on entrepreneurship in Africa, and much more. In 2010, the UN Volunteers program included approximately 9,000 online volunteers from around the world, and marked the first time the UNV's online volunteers outnumbered on-site volunteers.
At Symantec, virtual volunteering has become central to our corporate philanthropy strategy and enables us to tap the passion of our 21,000 employees in over 50 countries worldwide.
For example, thanks to virtual volunteering, interns in locations all around the world will have the opportunity to participate in Symantec’s first annual Intern Volunteer Week - taking place next week from July 15 – 19. Many thanks to Monica Ipong for driving this idea! Symantec employees can contribute hours to their department interns by logging hours on the Intern Volunteer Week Intranet site. The intern with the most hours will win a one-on-one Q&A Session with Bettina Koblick, SVP and Chief Human Resources Officer, and will be featured in an intranet article.
Interns will have the chance to participate in two virtual volunteering opportunities:
#1 Virtual Volunteering with the NPower Community Corps:
Surveys show that U.S. non-profits identify technology as one of their most mission critical needs. However, 88 percent of non-profits in the US have little to no in-house IT resources.
The NPower Community Corps is a unique, online, and highly scalable social good marketplace where non-profits and schools can post requests for volunteers from the tech community and volunteers and corporations can find opportunities to give back tocauses they care about using their skills.
To learn more and sign up visit: https://thecommunitycorps.secure.force.com/volunteers/VolLanding
#2 Virtual Volunteering with We Teach Science
Only 1 in 3 students in CA pass 8th grade Algebra. We Teach Science recruits STEM professionals to work with middle school students through their remote tutoring and mentoring program. Through We Teach Science, interns will volunteer one hour per week from their computer with a web-based interactive whiteboard and headset w/microphone.
One of the primary ways Symantec has a positive impact on local communities is through our volunteer efforts. We believe that the communities where Symantec maintains offices should be stronger and more vibrant because of our presence and that our employees are best positioned to understand the needs of their communities.
We hope interns all across the world will join us virtually for Intern Volunteer Week, and see how easy it is to make a difference with the click of a mouse.
Do you want to support a cause and give back to your community, but just can’t find the time? Or when you do find the time, you don’t know where to start looking for volunteer opportunities? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about virtual volunteering opportunities at Symantec!
Ashley Savageau is Community Relations Program Manager at Symantec.