Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Content starts here


Make a Difference in Minutes

Life gets busy. The demands of work, family, home, and other commitments can make it seem difficult, if not impossible, to find time to volunteer. But you can make a difference, even if you have very little time to spare. Here are some ways you can give back, whether you have a half-hour, 15 minutes, or even 5 minutes to spare:

5 minutes or less:

Go to a petition site like, The Petition Site, or Civist and add your name to a petition for a cause that matters to you.

Send a supportive text to a friend, or just reach out to share a kind word with someone you love. If you prefer to hand-written notes, keep a stash of note cards, envelopes, and stamps at the ready to dash off a few kind words when you have the time.

When you’re making your next meal, pack up an extra portion or two to drop off to a socially isolated friend or neighbor.

Take a bag and pick up trash and recycling during your next walk.

15 minutes or less:

If you had a good experience with a local business, write a positive review of the business online. And, when you have the opportunity, buy from local small businesses, too.

Legislators often rely on feedback from their constituents to make important decisions, so look up your state or federal legislator’s email address online and write a quick note about a cause that’s important to you.

Cull your book collection and donate some to local libraries or nonprofits for their fundraisers. Local senior centers or assisted living facilities may be on the lookout for book donations, too.

Visit Crowd4U and find a micro-volunteering effort. This site specializes in volunteerism that takes just a few minutes.

30 minutes or less

Work to put an end to loneliness and isolation. Help people in your community, especially older adults, find social connection. Reach out to a friend, family member, or colleague or check out AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect, which is working to end social isolation and help older adults build the social connections they need to thrive, is a good place to start. The platform offers a collection of tools and resources that can help your neighbors stay connected whenever they need support.

Help kids by being a virtual mentor. Programs like iCouldBe and MENTOR’s virtual mentoring portals have opportunities with young people ages 12 and under and 13+. CollegeBound’s virtual mentoring program helps high school students prepare for college.

Help researchers save species and the planet. Submit a soil sample from your yard or help bumble bee recovery efforts by uploading your photos. Take a virtual trip across the planet and identify animals in trail camera photos as part of a crowd-sourced conservation plan or download NOAA’s free reporting app and help weather and climate scientists around the world by submitting local reports. 

Share This Article

Volunteer to help women and girls

5 ideas for volunteering with animals

They’re cute and cuddly, and while most of them have paws, they all could use a helping hand. Here are a few ideas to help.