Updated April 2, 2022 . AmFam Team
If you’ve got a knack for IT and are seeking to use your personal and professional skills and talents to serve others, consider online IT skills-based volunteering — it’s an opportunity to work with a cause you’re passionate about, while using your best skills.
Take it from Todd Micholic, an American Family Insurance IT career management advisor and longtime volunteer. Todd shared his experience with skills-based volunteering and how he’s been able to leverage his tech savvy IT skills to help others. Here’s what you need to know about online IT skills-based volunteering and how to get involved.
In general, volunteering has undeniably changed since the pandemic hit. Since social distancing is encouraged, you may wonder how you can still offer your time to those in need. Todd says that staying safely apart is not a problem!
“Actually, the pandemic has been great for IT volunteering. I’ve volunteered for icStars and Maydm in the same day — no travel time needed in cyberspace.” Prior to 2020, Todd volunteered primarily in person. Now it’s all virtual, which has given him the opportunity to do more.
Since your skillset is primarily computer based, you can still be of service to nonprofits and other organizations without seeing them in person through online IT volunteering.
Todd does say that human interactions can be challenging when volunteering virtually, especially with kids. “You can’t high five a kid who breaks through with new coding challenge or give them candy for figuring out how to code a loop. So, it helps to take time off of a rigorous curriculum and just talk.”
He goes on to say that it’s important to build a relationship first, if possible. “If you can relate to someone about the food they like, the video games they play, the sports they watch, the art they like or the books they like to read then the teaching or mentoring is much easier.”
Whatever the case, don’t let social distancing stop you from finding an IT skills-based opportunity to help others. Now more than ever nonprofits need the support of volunteers like you!
Let’s admit it. Volunteering your time and effort to a worthy cause simply feels good. Knowing you’re helping someone in need can bring joy to your life and others.
And, while volunteering at a local shelter or animal shelter is a meaningful and worthy way to give back, donating your tech talent or a specific skillset to a good cause is a great way to grow as an individual and professionally. You never know what dream volunteering could spark!