It’s been over a year now that I have been working from home. The crisis is deepening, and every day or the other, there is bad news that props up. At a time when society, administration, and humanity are up for a toss, I see online community service to support the failing system.
It may be a Whatsapp group, a Facebook Group, a Slack group, or a LikeMinds community, requests for plasma, beds, medicines are abounded and help is rendered by fellow community members. This pandemic, despite all its horrid tidings, has underlined the scope of where we stand as communities.
According to Facebook and NYU’s GovLab report, ‘The Power of Virtual Communities,’ 91% of the respondents globally said they were able to provide some form of support via online community service, including helping local vulnerable residents with their groceries during the lockdown, sharing vital information from health authorities, and providing emotional and financial support to local businesses.
Says Paras Pundir, our community manager in chief, “The best value that communities are adding to society is the creation of the trust. Information is slowly becoming misinformation. People need credible leads for emergency services. And only a known face can help you with it. Communities give online volunteer opportunities to strangers as the platform to help each other and become friends.”
Paras is not wrong when he says it. Despite a surgery that he went through and is officially on leave, Paras has been helping people from his community who seek him out for help. And he isn’t the only one. All community people are spending days and nights on end to help each other.
The day before yesterday, at 3 AM, I got a call from a lead from one of my communities. A pregnant lady in Delhi, needing help for delivery and is unable to find a bed. It was hard. I couldn’t manage. I passed the lead to my sister in Delhi, and the next morning, amidst all the gloom, a young life came into the world.
The advantage of online community service is that you have a lot of helping hands. Need oxygen? Ten people will help you out. Need grocery? Dozens of community members will reach out to you. Need information? The whole community will turn the world upside down to search for it and make it available to you.
This is power, unlike anything. It is a constant reminder that you aren’t alone, no matter which part of the world you are in, at least a thousand people are looking out for you. Undoubtedly, virtual volunteering makes you feel like a person with a thousand genuine friends.
But how does this work? What can you do to empower your community? 4 things that I preach and practice. Do.
- Authenticate: Rumours and fake requests are rampant. Check before you help.
- Organize: You will get hundreds of requests each day. Prioritize. Help the urgent ones first.
- Encourage: Motivate your community to help others just like you do. Share your stories, inspirational quotes, etc. Sounds cliche, but works. Remember, online community service is a team game.
- Empathize: A community can not be built without empathy. As David said (insert Spink’s quote), we need empathy and not sympathy.
This brings us down to the most vital question. Can we monetize charity? Will LikeMinds help you do that? No. We won’t. But every time you help a person, stand for their rights, go out of your way to support them – you earn gratitude.
Gratitude marks higher than customer loyalty, as Hayek’s economics will have you believe. Remember that this entire world, this country – is nothing but a macro community. People who help people. Despite greed, hate, and personal problems.
Join LikeMinds today and start investing in people today through the power of communities.