Short on time but still hoping to Create the Good? Here are a few ideas for the busy volunteer, with minimal time commitments and ultimate flexibility, presented to inspire you to give one a try, or maybe even try them all!
Be a MicroMentor.
MicroMentoring connects volunteers with entrepreneurs. And as one of their mentors, you can help budding businesses learn the ropes and up their chances for success. It’s a flexible way to apply your skills, ideas and past experiences and you can volunteer on your own time. Voluntary Arts offers several microvolunteering opportunities to share your artistic talents. And with Crowd4U, you can crowdsource for good and perform microtasks that make the world a better place. Want to turn a ponytail into a dream come true? Donate your hair to cancer patient whose lost theirs. Just send it to Locks of Love or Wigs for Kids.
Break something big into bite-size chunks.
Making clothing or blankets for people in need is a great way to make a difference while passing the time. But if you only have a few minutes per day to spare, you can do what you can, a little at a time. It may take you a year to knit a single beanie, but it could make someone’s year when you donate it to Knots of Love. And if knitting blankets for kids is more your bag, no matter how long it takes, Project Linus will be there with open arms. Want to change a life, an hour at a time? Enter a virtual classroom with Learn to Be for 1-on-1 tutoring sessions in math, science, reading and writing. And for week-by-week consistency with a little variety mixed in, find 52 ideas to make the world better.
Multiply the impact.
Doing good for, or as part of, a group means multiplying people power and volunteer impact. A simple way to start is by volunteering with family, where in many cases you can even bring along your pets. Like reading books with your children or grandkids? You can multiply your effort here, simply by offering to read to their entire class. And while it usually takes months to build a house, when you team up with a Habitat for Humanity group, you can make an impact in a single day. Activities with your business colleagues also make great volunteering experiences. With the Stars of Hope program you can make a difference at the office on your lunch hour. Your local United Way can help your office save time by finding the perfect volunteer fit. And for even more opportunities close by, just use our volunteer search and keyword “group.”
Start at home.
A clean house makes a happy home—and the perfect opportunity to donate and Create the Good. Think about spring cleaning, which you can do any time of the year, and give away what you no longer use. Take a quick scan of your non-perishable food items and donate a few to your local pantry. Know a teacher or have kids or grandkids in school? Ask if they need extra classroom supplies and add them to your next shopping list. You can also lighten up you bookshelves and donate to your local library or send a few books to troops overseas. For your less mobile neighbors and family friends, you can share this checklist to help improve household safety and offer to help with a project or two. And when hot or cold weather is approaching, show them the simple things they can do to help conserve energy around their home.
Think like a scientist.
Volunteers interested in the science field can find abundant opportunities without investing a lot of time. The University of Oklahoma operates a citizen science soil collection program where you can submit a soil sample from your yard that just might end up becoming the next biomedical discovery. When flowers are in bloom, break out your camera and help aid in bumble bee recovery efforts by uploading your photos here. Only have a few minutes to spare? Take a virtual trip to Mozambique and identify animals in trail camera photos as part of a crowd-sourced conservation plan. And if climate or weather issues sound intriguing to you, download NOAA’s free reporting app and help scientists around the world by submitting local reports.
Help to end homelessness.
Across the nation, a growing number of people are living in the streets. And often they need more than money, food or clothes – they need emotional support. Even if you volunteer once a month, any time you can share will make a meaningful impact. One way to help out is through the National Coalition for the Homeless, the oldest advocacy organization of its kind. Find volunteer opportunities at a local agency near you.
Find even more ways to make a difference as a volunteer with this simple search.