Volunteering for your local nonprofits is a wonderful way for retirees to live influential lives by sharing talents, helping others, starting new hobbies, or presenting ways to stay engaged with people. However, the current COVID-19 pandemic (or other individual health issues) can make volunteering outside the home difficult for some, particularly seniors. Consequently, here are three meaningful ways retirees can volunteer from home.
1. Help people in a crisis.
Understandably, there is an increase in mental health issues due to the stresses, anxieties, and problems a global pandemic can produce (i.e., added fear and worry about health and financial situations, problems sleeping or concentrating, and greater alcohol or other substance abuse). Of course, disrupted mental health services can make these issues even more distressing. It is no secret nonprofits require volunteers for everything from administrative to event and fundraising support. But some may also need help providing their actual services remotely during this unprecedented time. Retirees, particularly those with backgrounds in counseling, mentoring, social services, teaching, or coaching, could offer much-needed help for crisis-oriented nonprofits that provide essential telephone, text, or online mental health support to those in need. Local community foundations, social service organizations, and websites such as VolunteerMatch or Catchafire can provide volunteer opportunities in these areas.
2. Help nonprofits.
Like many for-profit businesses, nonprofits that depend on a public audience (i.e., museums, theaters, and symphonies) are having to pivot due to the current pandemic. Since these types of nonprofits often depend on ticket sales, expanding their fundraising methods has proven necessary. Writing letters or making telephone calls on behalf of a local nonprofit is a task many volunteers can do from home. Additionally, some museums and theaters are now providing supplementary virtual programming for schools to use within their online curriculum. Volunteering to remotely assist with program research or document translation for those with disabilities can be another meaningful way to help. To find nonprofit fundraising or research and translation volunteer opportunities, contact local museums and theaters or use websites such as AARP’s Create the Good and Find a Children’s Museum.
3. Help homeless animals.
Lastly, some animal shelters have been shut down or have reduced staff and resources due to the current pandemic. Fostering or adopting a pet will not only help local shelters in need, but this undertaking may also help to reduce loneliness and potential social isolation at the same time. If unable to foster or re-home a pet in need, other remote volunteer options to help animals in general are advocacy tasks, social media networking, and telephone bank duties. To locate shelters in need, make sure to visit websites such as Best Friends or The Humane Society.
While the pandemic has produced numerous restrictions in our lives, it does not have to stifle our desire to help others in need. Helping people in a crisis, assisting nonprofits, and providing resources for homeless animals are three meaningful ways retirees can volunteer at home.