1 Month of Online Volunteering – Martina & Chloe, YEE e-Volunteers
One month ago, at the beginning of July, we started this very cool journey with YEE: we became online volunteers! I – Martina – focus more on the social media and communication strategy, while I – Chloe – work with external relations to set up the advocacy working group and other relevant initiatives.
Q: How is online volunteering and remote work?
Martina: I’m very passionate about discovering new cultures while visiting a country: surely, not being able to get to know Prague, its language and its history like previous on-site volunteers did is a huge disadvantage, from my point of view. However, I don’t mind working online since we have flexible timetables for carrying out our job and several meetings to keep each other updated! So, I feel part of a team, working towards a common goal, even if we’re not physically together!
Chloé: Remote volunteering has allowed for a lot of flexibility with work hours which has been wonderful in the strange time of corona-virus and juggling an internship on the side. However, it is slightly less personal. We may have many meetings and talk over zoom but that is not quite the same as getting to know the people you work with in person. Overall though, in the space of a month I have been able to learn so much!
Q: What has online volunteering at YEE taught us?
Martina: On a personal level, it taught me some technical skills: I never used Canva before! I’m starting to get familiar with it: it has already come handy for renovating the style of my blog The Curve! Awesome, isn’t it?
Chloé: This experience so far, especially thanks to the External Relations officer letting me sit-in in meetings, has really broadened my knowledge of the key organisations there are in Europe and how they work. I had a lot to learn coming into this summer advocacy position and everyone here at YEE has been really kind and have answered all my questions – no matter how small.
Q: What has been fulfilling or rewarding?
Martina: Being involved in first person in the organization’s decisions is certainly one of the greatest aspects while volunteering online. You can make your voice be heard: you’re constantly asked what your thoughts about a specific topic are. You can propose, suggest and be fully active in the management of the activities to be carried out. Also, I’m very happy to reach a wide audience and be able to raise awareness about environmental issues among young people, contributing towards a greener planet!
Chloé: So far, it has helped me understand a bit better which direction I want to take my career and education in – hence recently choosing university electives for next year such as “International negotiations on the Climate” and “Theory and Issues of European Citizenship”! It has been very fulfilling to see how passionate and engaged I am in the topics and values of YEE, confirming some of my personal aspirations.
Q: What difficulties did we encounter during volunteering? How did we overcome them?
Martina: The whole experience might seem overwhelming at the beginning: getting to know the organization, its structure, the way things work can be tough. During the first week, you might feel a bit lost but you will soon get back on track. Advice: get organized, check the calendar often and feel free to contact the rest of the team if you have doubts! Team-working is one of the most important features in YEE.
Chloé: I similarly think that some of the difficulties were linked to organisation, having to get used to new communication platforms and getting into the habit of checking them regularly. It is made harder by being remote and not having in-person conversations to remind each other of things! But with time and reminders from the rest of the team, it’s become more of a regular habit!
Overall, after one month, we have had a very positive experience: we already learnt some new skills and improved others! Time flies: it looks like yesterday when we first met on Zoom and began to learn and share our ideas. So far, we helped in the preparation of an online Q&A event with WWF Arctic, we got involved in spreading ocean literacy as part of the EU4Ocean Platform, we managed to hire new Liaison Officers to the YEE Board! We are also taking care of our own projects and campaigns, with the support of the organization!
We’re looking forward to working for the next month and can’t thank YEE enough for the opportunity!