As the digital age propels us into a realm of endless connectivity, the activism landscape has rapidly evolved. Progressive organizations, always at the forefront of change, are harnessing the power of advocacy technology and virtual volunteering to drive their missions forward.

Online volunteering has become instrumental in advancing progressive causes, and rightfully so. This form of volunteering eliminates geographical barriers and opens up your cause to new supporters ready to make a difference. Creating a rewarding experience online is challenging, though. You won’t meet these individuals in person, making it hard to establish meaningful connections.

You want your volunteers to enjoy themselves and recommend your organization to their friends. To make that happen, it’s up to you to create a fulfilling virtual experience that inspires greater volunteer retention. By implementing a strategic virtual volunteering strategy, you can design an experience that’s just as enticing and rewarding as in-person opportunities.

1. Understand Virtual Volunteers’ Motivations.

People are drawn to virtual volunteering for a variety of reasons. Understanding their motivations for getting involved will empower your team to tailor volunteer opportunities that meet the expectations of the digital realm.

To recruit volunteers with enticing involvement opportunities, consider these common motivations:

  • Flexibility: Your supporters are busy. Virtual volunteering can be done at almost any time, allowing individuals to fit serving your organization into their hectic schedules.
  • Accessibility: For individuals who have mobility challenges, live in remote areas, or lack transportation, virtual volunteering provides a chance to contribute without traveling.
  • Skill development: Virtual roles lean into technical abilities, empowering volunteers to enhance or learn new skills.
  • Task variety: The digital nature of virtual volunteering enables a variety of tasks, from text banking to content creation. This factor can be appealing to those looking for diverse experiences.
  • Fulfillment: A main driver of virtual participation is engaging in fulfilling volunteer work. Virtual volunteers can find a sense of purpose in contributing to a cause they believe in, all from the comfort and convenience of their own homes.

These are just a handful of reasons why someone might engage in virtual volunteering with your organization. The activities you offer can help you tap into these motivations to provide a mutually beneficial experience.

2. Offer High-Quality Virtual Volunteering Opportunities.

Once you understand volunteers’ motivations, you can offer activities that resonate with those goals. Start by pinpointing tasks that can be easily transitioned online, or create new opportunities tailored to the virtual space when possible.

Some of the countless virtual volunteering opportunities you can offer include:

  • Digital advocacy: Virtual volunteers can organize online petitions, coordinate email campaigns targeting policymakers, and spearhead social media movements.
  • Content creation: Volunteers can design graphics that promote progressive policies, write blog posts on relevant issues, or record video testimonials for online awareness campaigns.
  • Online event organization: Encourage volunteers to organize virtual town halls with policymakers, facilitate online workshops on activism, or coordinate digital rallies.
  • Fundraising: Lean on your virtual volunteers for help with digital fundraising campaigns and events. They can help spread the word and solicit donations or registrations.
  • Translation and accessibility: Multilingual volunteers can translate digital materials to cater to different communities of voters and help ensure marketing materials are ADA-compliant.
  • Text and phone banking: Your volunteers can participate in virtual phone or text banks to communicate with voters. Volunteers used Impactive to send almost 70 million peer-to-peer text messages in 2022

Double the Donation’s volunteer management guide explains that gathering detailed information on volunteers’ skills and interests will help you delegate tasks to the right people. In other words, consider each individual’s preferences when offering virtual volunteering opportunities.

3. Consistently Communicate With Virtual Volunteers.

When you offer remote opportunities, communication is especially important. You’ll need to take extra steps to promote camaraderie among volunteers in a digital environment.

To start, set clear expectations and provide sufficient training. Equip volunteers with sufficient knowledge to complete their assignments, such as how to leverage digital advocacy tools and engage in social media activism.

From here, conduct regular check-ins and feedback sessions to discuss any changes in organizational objectives and processes. If you leverage a volunteer platform like Impactive, use communication tools like Broadcast Texting to stay connected and send relevant updates outside of meetings.

Don’t forget to celebrate your volunteers’ contributions either. eCardWidget’s volunteer appreciation guide explains that when volunteers feel appreciated, they’re more likely to continue their support, ensuring a strong base of committed individuals who can propel your mission forward. 

For instance, show gratitude for virtual volunteers by sending emails or digital greeting cards to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, successful campaigns, and community milestones. This will go a long way in making each supporter feel valued and connected. However you go about it, open and regular communication is vital to the volunteer experience.


As a volunteer coordinator, you understand the hard work that goes into achieving your mission. Virtual volunteering can play a powerful role in generating impact, and it’s up to you to figure out how to create a fulfilling experience that keeps volunteers coming back. Your supporters will take notice!

Dec 12, 2023
From the Field