James O’Brien is executive coordinator at the International Forum for Volunteering in Development. Prior to joining the forum, he spent a decade in various roles with Voluntary Service Overseas, most recently as Volunteering for Development leadership adviser. He has served as coordinator of the Volunteer Groups Alliance and chair of the Post-2015 Volunteering Working Group and worked with Better Care Network and Lumos on responsible volunteering.
About 1 billion people volunteer every year, and the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a new surge in volunteering at the local level. This op-ed explores what models of volunteering and collaboration could be part of the new normal.