Many of us, upon hearing the words “donate”, “serve”, or “volunteer” in the same sentence, have to fight an uncomfortable sense of guilt. With the busy lives most of us lead, it’s nearly impossible to find a spare moment to ourselves, much less extra time to give to others! However, nothing is more rewarding than knowing something you did has benefited someone else.
Here are some ideas for how to serve others when you’re low on time.
Donate Money or Belongings
If you really don’t have any spare time but want to do your part to help the community, a great way to do so is to donate.
You can do a quick Google search to find a charity that aligns with your values to donate a monetary gift to. You can also donate old clothes or belongings to Goodwill. If you happen to have a spare car (even if it doesn’t run!), places like humancars.org will take them off your hands for free, and use the proceeds to save animals.
Volunteer Virtually via Micro-volunteering
A typical volunteer shift can last anywhere from 5 to 9 hours. Most people only have a couple of hours of free time a day. Insert “micro-volunteering” here.
Micro-volunteering shifts last a few minutes too if you want! Best of all, these opportunities can be completed from home, which is especially great if the only time you have is late at night.
You can volunteer online for mentorship, tutoring, or editing positions. You can volunteer to help build a website, volunteer for call centers, and more. You can even be paired with someone who has vision problems to help them with daily tasks! No matter what your availability is, there is always something you can do to give back, even online.
Volunteer by Achieving Your Goals
If you have a trait or skill that could help others, volunteer your time while also honing your skills! It’s a win-win situation: people will benefit from your awesome talent, and you’ll become even better at what you already do. If you have a job that requires you to pursue education hours, see if you can fulfill these by volunteering your time in your field. This might require you to be a little creative, but it will be well worth it.
Sometimes, all someone needs is to hear a kind word, even if it’s from a stranger. Consider taking the time to write letters to people, such as those battling an illness, or soldiers overseas. It may only take you a couple of minutes to write a letter, but it may mean the world to someone who hasn’t heard a kind word in a while.
Volunteer Your Time
If you do have some time to help people in-person, you don’t have to spend a whole day—you can give a couple of hours a day to drive someone in need of an interview. You can spend a couple of hours a day serving as a phone counselor. You can even deliver meals to the elderly who are home bound. You can always go the more traditional route, and volunteer with places like Habitat for Humanity, or at your local soup kitchen.
There are tons of ways you can volunteer your time and resources. It doesn’t have to match a movie-like version of volunteering you have in your head: just about anything you can do that helps another person is considered volunteering! There are opportunities, now more than ever, to help globally via the internet. You can donate your time, gifts, resources, monetary resources—anything you can think of counts.