Tips for a Successful Volunteering Experience during COVID-19

Tips for Volunteering (Downloadable Version)


  • It is important that if you cannot follow through with your commitment to volunteer that you communicate this to the contact at your organization as soon as possible. If you are unwell, have a fever, or suspect that you have been exposed to COVID-19, please let your contact person know.
  • Ask for clarification – if you are unclear about any of the tasks that are being asked of you, make sure you ask for the support you need to avoid performing unnecessary or duplicative tasks. Try to be flexible and adapt as things make likely change.
  • Be respectful of the full-time public health professionals that you are helping during this time. They are faced with multiple priorities and changes are happening at a rapid pace. Your role is to support the effort to assist in making it as effective as possible in an uncertain environment.


  • Volunteering or working during a health crisis can be stressful and have an effect on your own mental health and well-being. It is important to set boundaries as possible, practice self-care, and reach out for help as needed.
  • If you are uncomfortable about anything that is being asked of you, please contact XXX or XXX (Info coming soon)
  • Please know that there is support available through Harvard Counseling and Mental Health Services ( and by contacting the Office of Student Affairs (

Opportunity to Learn

  • Take advantage of the opportunity to see how your public health training and skills are useful and needed during a public health crisis. This may help clarify what skills you have and what you may want to work on developing.
  • Observe how the organization you are working with communicates, manages, and leads during this time and how the coordination of numerous stakeholders unfolds.
  • Reflect upon the knowledge and skills you gain through this experience and how it may inform your future career interests and goals.