Volunteers are a rich part of MDA’s 70-year history. Through volunteer committees, boards, community events, and Summer Camps where kids build confidence and independence, they are tightly woven into MDA’s fabric.
This week is National Volunteer Week, and we couldn’t be prouder of or more grateful for the 33,000 volunteers across the country who make MDA events and programs successful. And this year, as we’ve moved our work and programs online to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, our volunteers are still with us — virtually.
MDA has always had a need, even before this time of social distancing, for remote and virtual volunteers. From their homes, our remote volunteer team includes social media influencers who share our mission through videos and posts; writers who assist with grant research and applications; fundraisers who organize custom events via Your Way for MDA; and families who write thank you notes and create art to share with MDA’s corporate sponsors.
This year, we’re also seeking volunteers to fundraise and moderate in MDA Let’s Play, our new online gaming community. And we still need our vital MDA Summer Camp counselors as we create and host a new online camp experience, as the pandemic affected our ability to host in-person camp sessions.
“Virtual volunteering allows individuals to stay safe in their homes while empowering them to support the MDA community during this difficult and transitional time,” says Billy Donnelly, volunteer engagement specialist at MDA. “Now more than ever, virtual support is becoming imperative for MDA to continue to support our families.”
Volunteers can sign up online, indicating a preference for virtual opportunities, and they’ll be connected with a local office that can highlight specific needs. Volunteers can use their own computers and tablets — or even just a phone, paper, and pen — to help.
Chicagoan Laura Reuther has been volunteering for MDA, in person and remotely, since participating in a corporate philanthropy event with her executive recruiting firm in 2018.
And then, Laura says, she learned more about MDA’s mission.
“Lives are deeply impacted in many ways,” she says, “by MDA’s services, research activities, and Summer Camps.”
Now a member of MDA’s Volunteer Leadership Committee, Laura regularly assists in organizing MDA events in the Chicago area. She’s used Google docs and virtual meeting spaces to coordinate with other volunteers, modes of online communication that can easily be put to work now, she says.
“I would say what better time than now to lend a hand?” Laura says. “There are many ways to use your own network and provide support to organizations as they work virtually. Volunteering for meaningful organizations like MDA involves fundraising, planning, and bringing awareness and support to their causes, and all these activities can be done virtually.”
Join Laura on a virtual volunteer journey with MDA today. Get started at mda.org/volunteer.