Not everyone has the time or flexibility to commit to, and maintain a volunteer schedule. For those of us feeling a little tied down with work or other daily obligations, here are several quick, easy and safe ways to Create the Good.
Every minute counts
Take just a few to sign a petition for a cause you believe in or 30 minutes to aid in student research—all without ever leaving your desk. Write a "Get Well Soon" card for a child at your local children's hospital, send a thank you to an essential worker, or become a pen pal with a soldier on active duty overseas. It doesn't take long to jot down a quick note to make someone feel connected. The microvolunteering resource Help From Home gives more savvy suggestions for time-based volunteering.
Lift spirits in the neighborhood
Whether you live in an apartment complex, a subdivision, or the countryside, you can always find small ways to make a difference without spending much time. Taking a walk? Bring a bag and pick up trash and recycling along your route. Or offer to pick up a few items for a neighbor when you make your next grocery run.
Join the “Crowd”
Make a difference in as little as 10 seconds at Crowd4U—a microvolunteering site that crowd-pools volunteers to complete larger tasks in fields of academics and public service.
Electronics make powerful connections
Not sure what to do with that old cell phone? You can donate it to be recycled to health fund healthcare programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Your unused iPods can also go to a memorable cause as well —helping patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia reconnect with the world around them. Music & Memory partners with long-term care facilities to bring personalized music into the lives of the elderly through digital music technology
Become an armchair scientist
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. Bumble bees were recently placed on the Endangered Species List as their population has declined nearly 90% since the 1990s. But you can help aid in this species’ recovery simply by uploading photos of the bees you find in and around your community. Or NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory collects public weather reports through a free app available for smart phones or mobile devices.
Turn a haircut into a dream come true
The haircut may take more than ten minutes, but you were going to do that anyway, right? If you’ve got long locks and are thinking of going short, think about donating to locksoflove.org or wigsforkids.org. Your ponytail that would otherwise be thrown away can become a full head of hair for a cancer patient who’s lost her own. Just make sure it meets the organization’s minimum length, and take a few moments to mail it in.
Find even more volunteer opportunities, right in your community, with this easy-to-use, volunteer search.