Online and Virtual Volunteering

  • Helen K. Liu
  • Yvonne D. Harrison
  • Jackie J. K. Lai
  • Grace L. Chikoto
  • Karina Jones-Lungo


The advent of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has transformed conventional in-person volunteering on-site into online volunteering and civic participation at a physical distance. This chapter reviews online volunteering in terms of what, where, when, who, and why. Through four cases, namely Online Volunteering (United Nations), VolunteerMatch, Virtual Volunteering Projects, and GoVolunteer, this chapter proceeds to explore the nature, scope, context, type of work performed, demographics, and motivations of online volunteers. It concludes that online volunteering will continue to increase for its cost-effectiveness but at the expense of time and operational cost in adopting ICTs. This chapter concludes with the future trends of online volunteering.

Traditional definitions often identify volunteers as those who donate their time for the common good, to help someone, or participate in some organization without full financial remuneration (Bussell and Forbes 2002), without coercion, and for recipients outside their own household and immediate family.


Social Capital Online Community Civic Engagement Volunteer Work Civic Participation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen K. Liu
    • 1
  • Yvonne D. Harrison
    • 2
  • Jackie J. K. Lai
    • 3
  • Grace L. Chikoto
    • 4
  • Karina Jones-Lungo
    • 5
  1. 1.USA
  2. 2.Canada
  3. 3.Hong Kong, China
  4. 4.Zimbabwe
  5. 5.El Salvador

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