You’re a busy guy (or gal).
You’ve always wanted to volunteer or have in the past, but these days you just don’t have time.
There’s nothing wrong with not having time; if you have a full-time job, young mouths to feed, extracurricular activities to drive to, and more, it’s going to be difficult to find a spare moment to breathe, let alone volunteer. Many organizations have a time commitment, so if you’re serious about giving back to your community, you’ll either have to find one that doesn’t, where you can volunteer on an event basis, or find other channels in which to contribute.
No matter your lifestyle, there are always ways to give back. Here are 5 tips for how to do just that, that you may not have considered:
1. Start Small by Micro-volunteering
Sometimes not being able to volunteer isn’t necessarily a result of not having enough time, but stems from not feeling equipped to fit another commitment into your regular routine. If you’re feeling guilty, or like you are making excuses about a lack of volunteer activities in your life, you’re not alone. However, keep in mind that you can start small by micro-volunteering, to get your feet wet before jumping headfirst into a volunteer commitment.
Microvolunteering actions can include:
- Supporting a charity or nonprofit organization at a one-off event
- Editing digital or collateral materials for an organization short on internal resources
- Contributing to a school fundraiser, such as a bake sale or bottle drive
Every organization requiring committed volunteers also needs micro-volunteering. To define it in other terms, micro-volunteering is essentially breaking larger tasks into smaller actions allows more people to work toward the larger goal.
Incorporating some of these smaller actions into your life may open your eyes to a larger opportunity that you’re able to seamlessly add to your routine, without trying to make a large commitment all at once.
2. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Got skills? Most organizations can use those.
You may be able to incorporate volunteering into your regular schedule by identifying opportunities that require skills you’re already using or refining. Hobby photographer? Spare time builder? Closet guitar hero? Some microvolunteer or more regular opportunities may exist for you to bring those sweet melodies out into the spotlight - and for a cause!
A few examples:
- Pianist (or other musician) for a local choir or church
- Event coordinator (or photographer!) at an event you would otherwise attend
- Set builder for a local production
Another way to incorporate volunteering into your regular schedule is to start a corporate volunteering program within your workplace; depending on the size of your employer, this may already exist. Inquire with management, or lead the charge yourself! Many organizations, like Habitat for Humanity for example, are always looking for corporate partnerships.
3. Give Back Through ‘Passive’ Channels
Though ‘active’ may sound a bit better than ‘passive,’ the contribution is no less important. Volunteers who can’t give time, may be able to give money, and the reality is most non-profit organizations need both - including that organization where you’ve been meaning to start volunteering.
The best way to understand other channels of giving is by speaking with a leader or coordinator at the organization; explain that you’re not able to donate time, but you’d love to support the organization in other ways. In some cases, it may not be money that is required, but supplies! This may be a resource area you can contribute to that takes, again, minimal time.
4. Volunteer Remotely by Offering Virtual Services
Though you may not be able to commit to a regular meeting or time of giving, chances are you have a few hours every day in which you’re able to sit down while the kids are playing, or after dinner when you turn on the TV. So it’s not that you don’t have time, it’s just not necessarily regular or during the time that an organization might require.
Beyond supplies and money, some organizations need help that may not actually require your physical presence. Alternatively, some organizations give back entirely by offering virtual services, such as mentorship, entirely online. In either case, there are opportunities to direct some of your irregular ‘down-time’ to give back to an organization.
Again, the best way to understand if any local charities could use your help in this way is to get in touch. If those opportunities don’t seem to be presenting themselves, you can do some good ol’ online research to discover virtual organizations that have no borders.
5. Make Volunteering an Extracurricular Family Activity
If your time is taken up by soccer games, hockey tournaments, and family BBQs, you may be able to swap one of those BBQs out for a family volunteer session! Many of the above tips include suggestions for micro-volunteering or event-based giving - these are the perfect opportunities for the whole family to get involved. Adding a volunteer activity into your regular family schedule allows for you and your children to bond in different ways, and learn skills that they will carry with them into adulthood.
No matter your schedule, there are always ways to give back to your local community. With September fast approaching, the gears at the Red Deer Kinsmen Club are starting to turn once again. Keep your eye out for opportunities to get involved in our newsletter.