Volunteering CAN fit your lifestyle
I have previously written about my experience of volunteering with the Friends of Crystal Palace Subway which I was enjoying hugely, so you can imagine I felt dreadful when I realised I would have to give it up. I had moved out of the area, so getting to meetings involved a 3-hour round trip, and my day job workload was increasingly demanding.
I just couldn’t commit the time my post required and this is one of the perceived problems with volunteering; who actually has much spare time these days? Who can commit to being in the same place at the same time each week to fulfil a particular role? I remember having a chat via Twitter with @wadeylady about her volunteering activities, which were (and still are) many and varied. I was already a bit in awe of Ali, assuming she had either developed the ability to survive on a Margaret Thatcher-esque 4 hours of sleep a night, or had discovered the secret to a 25-hour day. Despite a very busy job and seemingly an equally busy social life, she still was still able to support all sorts of charities. How?
Micro volunteering was her answer;‘ bite-sized, on-demand, no commitment actions that benefit a worthy cause.’ In a matter of weeks, Ali had raised money for the Air Ambulance, recycled goods for the RNIB and collected coats for homeless people. None of these tasks required her to be in the same place at the same time for weeks on end. Nor did they take up hours of her precious time. But, they all made a difference to injured, disabled and disadvantaged people and, I’m guessing, made Ali feel great too.
This prompted me to look at the sort of micro-volunteering opportunities available to me, either online or locally. Here are some of my favourites:
Do good in 1 minute
Tear the stamps off your post and keep them somewhere safe – yes, saving stamps IS still a thing and the RNIB for one would be grateful to receive yours! Possibly the easiest fundraising you will ever do.
Do good in 10 minutes
Sign up to Give As You Live and raise a donation for your favourite charity every time you shop, at no cost to you. Thousands of retailers participate so anything from your weekly shop to your summer holiday can raise money.
Do good in 30 minutes
Bring a little sunshine into a seriously ill child’s day. Post Pals is a small charity run entirely by volunteers who encourage people to put a smile on the face of a very poorly child by writing a letter or sending them an email.
Do good in an afternoon
Walk a dog; maybe even two. Rescue centres continue to be overrun with unwanted dogs and your help to exercise and socialise them would be much appreciated. You can either contact your local rescue centre or check out Cinnamon Trust; one of the services its volunteers provides is walking dogs belonging to elderly people when they go into hospital or are otherwise unable to get out of the house.
I hope this has given you a few ideas. There are plenty of sites that can help to match you up to volunteering opportunities in your area; have a look at Do It or Reach Volunteering. Alternatively, you can call into your local Council for Voluntary Service.