Volunteerism is a crucial component of providing support and relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Volunteers are needed now, around the world, more than ever to provide relief from the destruction that COVID-19 has had on communities. Nonprofits in many sectors (food banks, hospital support, cause & cure) are seeing a ramp-up in the need for volunteers, due to this unprecedented pandemic. Volunteers are the heart of many nonprofits and these organizations rely on them to help reach goals and drive mission-attainment. In fact, most nonprofits would not be able to achieve goals without the support of volunteers.

Volunteers have an opportunity to really make a big difference within their communities, right now. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nonprofits and the number of volunteers that they have available for much-needed shifts.

The current situation, involving COVID-19, is calling for nonprofits to put protocols in place to protect the health of staff, clients, and volunteers. These protocols include social distancing, health, and wellness awareness strategies, and providing flexible shifts. For volunteers, wanting to aid their time during this crisis, there are a few practical steps they can take to protect their health and reduce risk.

Here are 3 tips for volunteers to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect themselves:

Stay Home, if Sick

It may seem like a given, but one of the best ways for volunteers to protect others is to stay home if they are not feeling well. Staying home, if sick, is a necessary precaution to avoid potentially transmitting the Coronavirus (or other illness) to others. A few of the early warning signs of the Coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Even though nonprofits could really use volunteers right now, it is counterproductive for sick volunteers to fulfill opportunities. Organizations can assist in stopping the spread of COVID-19 by communicating this message, often, with volunteers and looking out for ill supporters during shifts.


Practice Social Distancing

Volunteers can keep themselves and others safe by practicing social distancing when fulfilling shifts. Many organizations have created processes for incorporating social distancing into their volunteer opportunities but it is crucial for volunteers to set their own boundaries while in the field. The CDC and other health organizations recommend keeping a gap of at least 6 ft (1.83 m) between volunteers, during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Resources about social distancing:

Keeping your distance to stay safe

Social distance guidelines for the workplace


Keep a Clean Work Environment / Hand Washing

Volunteers can contribute to stopping the spread of Coronavirus by maintaining a clean work environment. Frequently and consistently cleaning surfaces (see recommendations) can help protect both volunteers and others who may potentially come into contact. The CDC recommends cleaning surfaces with soap/water and disinfectant before and after use. Volunteers should also practice handwashing (before, during, and after a volunteer shift). Hands should be washed with soap and water for 20 seconds at a time.


Everyone Should Play a Part

Everyone has a job to do to protect each other and stop the spread of COVID-19. Nonprofits can reduce the risk for staff, volunteers, and clients by putting protocols in place for their protection. Volunteers can contribute by staying home if they are sick, practicing social distancing, and keeping their work environment and hands clean at all times.


Interested in learning how VolunteerHub can help increase the productivity of your organization’s volunteer program? Watch an overview of the software here.