Virtual Connections Were A Source Of Strength During The Pandemic. Here's How:
By: Milton, Diamond
Published On: August 03, 2021
It’s August 2021. By this time last year the internet had moved on from the Dalgona coffee trend. The school friend who used to steal chicken nuggets from your tiffin had begun cooking to cope with their mental burnout. Now, they run a successful cupcake business on Instagram and sometimes, even send you free goodies for a “taste-test”.
There is ample research on how Covid-19 changed our friendships and the very way we connect with people. Confined to our homes, many resorted to creating virtual connections to divert minds away from the uncertainty and restlessness that rose in the wake of the pandemic. These virtual friendships and connections served as a source of support and made us realise that we were not alone.
The Power of Online Connections
Bumble has an interesting tagline, “Stay at home and put yourself out there.” A lot of us did just that - we virtually reconnected with friends that we hadn’t spoken to in a long time. We found similarities in people who we thought were very different from us. We stood up for others and found purpose at a very, very strange time.
These virtual friendships and connections gave us strength and within months we saw people creating a chain of impact, supporting each other - supporting strangers from around the world! One such example can be seen in the hundreds of online fundraisers created to raise funds for food distribution, oxygen cylinders and free ambulance services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Donors online contributed generously towards these causes.
To recount one such fundraiser-
Providing education and food to homeless children
More than 50 children are registered with The Homeless Children Project of Scots’ Kirk to provide education and food to homeless children in the Fort area of South Mumbai.
Due to the lockdown, the children were unable to visit the church, where volunteers would regularly help with their studies and organize recreational activities like games and quizzes for them.
The online fundraiser was started by Krish Advani, a ninth grade student from The Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai. It also covered the cost of supplies like notebooks, pens, pencils, umbrellas, masks, rice, dal, and sugar. Within 2 months, the fundraiser raised Rs 1.59+ lakhs - more than the original goal amount!
You can read more about this here.
Why was there an increase in donations during Covid-19?
A Secure and Virtual Process
Lockdown restrictions were essential to reduce the spread of the virus. But that meant that many people couldn’t volunteer on-ground with nonprofits. Online crowdfunding made it possible for people to donate from within the safety of their homes to causes that struck a chord with them.
To Support the Frontline Workers
The pandemic instilled a sense of responsibility and accountability in us towards the frontline workers who were tirelessly battling the Covid-19 pandemic. Doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, police and even dedicated NGOs went beyond the line of duty every day. The healthcare system was overburdened and it showed. We saw this plight in the news. We saw friends who were frontline workers being affected, we saw it in our own homes when someone got sick and needed an oxygen concentrator. Nobody could escape the effects of this virus and as such the internet found itself being flooded with relief posts connecting people to urgent causes. Many even started campaigning for the people who kept us safe - #ThankANurse initiative is one such example.
Giving Makes You Feels Good
Helping others reduced the feeling of helplessness that overwhelmed many of us during covid-19. Many studies have shown that giving has been linked with health benefits and better mental well-being. Giving has also been associated with reducing stress, which in turn reduces the risk of stress related ailments.
The Youth Got Involved
College students teamed up together to make an impact in society. They wanted to tackle issues that needed attention. Social media and the ability to navigate the internet gave them the virtual resources to do so. Here is one such story-
Providing BiPAP machines to people in need:
The non-profit organizations ‘41 Clubs of India’ and ‘Round Table India’ wanted to procure at least 56 BiPAP machines that could provide oxygen support to non-ICU patients.
Each BiPAP machine costs Rs 60,000. The total cost for procuring 56 machines was unaffordable for the NGOs organizing this. The batch of medical college students from VIMS, Karnataka stepped in and started an online fundraiser on behalf of them and raised over Rs 6.04 Lakhs with the help of the online community.
You can read more about this story here.
Virtual connections were the reason most people escaped being socially isolated during the lockdown. The pandemic changed our attitude towards a lot of things. We learnt not to take our relationships and health for granted. We couldn’t afford to anymore.
Online communities have allowed us to virtually connect with anyone to give and get support. While we have recently learnt to develop a new appreciation for it, crowdfunding platforms such as ImpactGuru have been doing this as early as 2014. With a wide donor base of online donors, ImpactGuru has managed to raise Rs. 1500+ crores to directly impact those in need.
If you are someone who benefited from virtual connections and power of the online community, consider giving back by contributing to any online fundraiser here.