Student Volunteer at Foodbank with Mask
Guidelines for a safety and meaningful student volunteer experience.

Volunteer Safety Tips for Covid 19 and Always

Your contribution to the community is valuable.  Your well-being matters more.  Our team is committed to working with volunteers and nonprofits to maximize everyone’s security.  Safety requires teamwork, during a global pandemic, and always.  Below we describe our best practices and guidelines for students to be as safe as possible.   

Covid-19 Safety Recommendations

  • CDC guidelines:    Get updates on CDC guidelines for Community Based Organizations that work with volunteers.  Remember that CDC guidelines are in addition to state and local health department requirements.  And of course, wear your mask, wash your hands frequently, and take all the space you need to socially distance.
  • Virtual volunteer projects, drives, and campaigns:  Our team reaches out to nonprofits daily to request online or safe-distance opportunities. Projects include special instructions with any mentions about pandemic precautions. Look for updates and volunteering trends on our blog and emails.  
  • Communication:  Communities change Covid-19 guidance rapidly.  Good communication helps us all navigate the chaos.  When you request a project, check your email for sign up and/or contact information.  Confirm dates, times, and locations before getting started.
  • Health check:  Postpone an on-site volunteer project or ask to help remotely if you feel ill.  If socialize with others who may not be following CDC guidelines, volunteer online.
  • Gut check:  If you arrive at a location and don’t feel protected enough, thank your contact for the opportunity and politely leave.  Right now, looking out for your health and the health of others is the best thing you can do for your community.

VolunteerCrowd Safety Best Practices

Web built VolunteerCrowd with the unique needs of middle school, high school, and college students in mind – including privacy. We strive to incorporate safety into our technology and communications.

  • Follow COPPA Guidelines:  COPPA stands for Children’s Online Privacy Protection. It’s a set of rules and regulations that the government has laid out to help protect the privacy of children under the age of 13. We follow these regulations so that children of all ages can use our app. 
  • Check Backgrounds:  VolunteerCrowd team members with access to student data have background checks.
  • Use Trusted Resources:  We work with Charity Navigator for volunteer organization listings. This reputable website evaluates and rates volunteer organizations to ensure that they use volunteer and monetary contributions effectively.  You can learn more information about each nonprofit on Charity Navigator.
  • Select Projects with Care:  We use a checklist to research projects that we post. For each project, we review things like:  
    • The organization’s website:  Is it active and maintained?
    • Credentials and ratings on Charity Navigator and other nonprofit rating organizations
    • Social media accounts and content:  Is there recent activity?  Do the postings support the organization’s purpose?
    • Double check that there’s a physical address for the organization or project.  (Examples:  Rescue organizations may have a P.O. box but work with volunteers at local pet stores.  Donation drives may have drop-offs at a local school or community center rather than a nonprofit headquarters.)
    • We look for, and prefer, an email contact that matches the organization’s name.  
  • Do a Gut Check:  If something doesn’t seem quite right during our selection process, VolunteerCrowd de-lists the organization.  We exclude many organizations and projects that are great but are not relevant to student service-learning.  
  • Conceal Student Contact Information:  We do not share student contact information with the volunteer organizations. Students who request projects receive volunteer organizations’ contact information, and application or sign-up instructions.  Students, parents, or educators contact the volunteer project coordinator directly.  We ping nonprofits whenever a student wants to volunteer, but never share specifics.  You can learn more about our privacy policy here.
    • Hours Verification Exception:  Students who join the College and Career Advantage program will have their service hours verifed.  When VolunteerCrowd sends the confirmat and requests endorsements, we share the student’s first name, last initial, the date and time when the student volunteered, and the service project summary written by the student.

Students, Parents, and Educators Best Practices

There is no substitute for being attentive, whether a student is going to a volunteer project or anywhere else.

  • Do Your Research:  Invest a few minutes leaning about the the nonprofit and its mission just as if you are going to a job interview. We post social media links and the charity’s website on each VolunteerCrowd project page. It’s ok to troll the organization and see where the community service activity takes place.  We include the address of the organization so that you can find it on Google Earth or Maps. You can also lookup the organization on Charity Navigator.  
  • Tell Us Your Concerns:  You’ll learn a lot when you interact with organizations and volunteers. If you have a concern or don’t recommend the project for future student volunteers, contact us.  Bringing issues to our attention allows us to de-list the volunteer organization if it is not a good fit for students.
  • Know Where You’re Going:  We provide an address so you can check out the location in maps and plan your transportation. Read all the details in case there is a special meeting spot.  Understand the surroundings. Some sites might be remote or involve service work at night. Only go to areas where you feel safe. There’s a share icon on each project page or screen.  We strongly encourage all volunteers to share the project details and location with friends, parents, or family members so that they know where you are volunteering.  
  • Bring a Friend:  Be amazing together.  Use our project share feature to invite friends or family to go with you. Nonprofits usually appreciate the extra help.
  • Spread the Word:  Rally support for your favorite cause by sharing the project with family and friends. This will help organizations recruit more volunteers.

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