#VolunteersWeek: In praise of our digital volunteers

The Mix Staff
girl looking at laptop

To celebrate this year’s Volunteers’ Week and the incredible volunteers who work with us at YouthNet, we’d like to shine a light on digital volunteering and highlight some of the contributions our digital volunteers have made.

What is digital volunteering?

Digital volunteering is looked down on as a poor cousin to ‘normal’ volunteering, but we don’t see it like that. We think it carries as much weight and does as much good as, say, rattling a bucket or taking an old person to tea.

All forms of volunteering are about helping charities achieve their aims, and at YouthNet we happen to have a lot of online volunteering opportunities, because that’s where young people operate. The reach that digital provides means we can offer support to young people wherever they are and deliver a truly national service.

We involve young people as volunteers in most of our online services including Ask a Question, our discussion boards, and in our live chats, collectively reaching and supporting thousands of young people across the UK.

It sounds like an oxymoron, but we even offer face-to-face digital volunteering, often in the form of bringing young people together to create online apps and tools and be part of the building process. You can see some of the services we’ve co-created with our volunteers on our Apps and Tools page.

The benefits of digital volunteering

The biggest benefits are that our volunteers can fit volunteering commitments around busy lives and contribute even if they live in a remote community. They do their shifts from home, maybe after work, uni or college. This gives them the flexibility to volunteer when it suits them and contributes to making our programmes accessible for people with disabilities. Our training can also be delivered online via our E-learning platform.

Our digital volunteers

At YouthNet young people are at the heart of what we do – the services we provide are for young people, but importantly they are by young people as well. We look to co-create our digital ecosystem of services with young volunteers and work with them to deliver services that meet our user’s needs.

We currently have over 300 young volunteers that we train, empower and support to work alongside YouthNet in the delivery of advice and support for others – be that as forum board moderator or relationship advisor.   We’ve written another blog featuring some of those volunteers here.

Inspired? Here’s how you can get involved

You can volunteer from the comfort of your sofa with a cup of tea supporting young people about sex and relationship issues, dealing with exam stress or practical advice such as how to move out of home. These roles are to support young people wherever they are on our services and to support them in whatever they need. To find out how to get involved with digital volunteering at YouthNet email us on http://www.youthnet.org/contact/.


Published on 01-Jun-2015