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Empathy During COVID-19

Published: Apr 7, 2020 @ 7:26 PM


Thank you for all you do in community. I won’t say “these are trying/challenging times” because these times are . . . oh right, don’t say it.

Volunteering is Hope

One of my favourite shows, and one I’ve been binging lately is Star Trek. So I can’t help thinking “What if the world were like Star Trek?” What do you mean, the part about flying through space? Nope, the part about humans doing whatever they can to explore and extend their capacity to care. Well, we are seeing that right now all over the place!

How do I know? Well, we have seen the interest on VolunteerConnector double each week in the last few weeks. People want to help one another. This is such a great story of how we all respond as neighbours in our moments of crisis and need. It gives me hope that we are ever moving closer to a truly empathetic society, possibly the promise of Star Trek. (I know there’s lots to leave on the cutting room floor, like story lines that drag on!)

So What? What can people who engage volunteers do?

The only answer is adapt. Organizations aren’t anything without the people in them, so look after yourself and your team. There’s lots of wisdom out there to help you make good choices. Especially the stuff about staying home for non-essential workers. If you’re thinking about engaging your volunteer team, and possibly even expanding it right now, this requires an adaptation. We suggest doing three things:

  • Take account of your needs to recruit and get the message out there with a post on the VolunteerConnector. Maybe you are still requiring a new board member for that postponed AGM. Really focus on the needs right now and try not to feel pressure to create busy work for volunteers. We wouldn’t want to accidentally encourage people to be breaking physical distancing guidelines.
  • Think about your experience in working from home. You’re trusted with access to files and email address and all sorts of thing. So many people at home have capacity to help and want to. Can we extend the systems that are currently working for us paid humans to those we trust to volunteer?
  • Do you see a lot of informal volunteer movements? Feel free to post the opportunity on VolunteerConnector to get an extra helping hand. If you can’t do it then simply forward this to that self organizing effort, or tag us @volunteercal so we can help spread the word.


Do you find yourself needing to be more organized with your front line response? Your organization or community effort can always post for free on the VolunteerConnector to recruit. But did you know our scheduling and tracking tools are free during covid-19?

  • simply sign in,
  • click an UPGRADE button,
  • use the upgrade code "COVID19" to
  • start free scheduling and tracking features!

Please forward this message on to any of the community organizers out there so they can get connected to the tens of thousands of people who are ready to help. If they need support in getting connected then we are here to help at

Volunteering Teaches Empathy

I remember learning about empathy from Star Trek. Empathy is something only humans can provide. While the promise of the machines taking over is ever present (yes, I watch too much science fiction), we know that to have and deliver empathy is a human quality. It’s a great time to try to understand one another, and see the world from another’s perspective. I think our instinct to reach out and be neighbourly, to volunteer our time, is empathy in action. My Star Trek dreams may be a bit far-fetched, but a world where we all provide for each other is not and this crisis is proving that to me daily.