How to Fit Volunteering Into Your Busy Schedule
Volunteering is a great way to provide an answer, but it can be tricky if you’re focused on your things. Here are some ways to volunteer without disrupting your current lifestyle.
Choose your project wisely and set realistic expectations
Volunteering will become so much easier if you find volunteering opportunities that you really enjoy . You will have a lot more motivation and enjoy it. Also set realistic expectations. For example, if you don’t have time to help out every week or month, you can still try doing one activity or project per season. You may think that this is not enough, but remember that it is even slightly better than not doing it at all. (And when your schedule changes, you can easily increase it.)
Look for volunteer concerts that fit the time you should be spending. Call ahead and talk to someone about what you can do for them in the time you have. You may need to adjust your expectations as some organizations require minimum hours per week or months of guaranteed assistance. For example, when I was in my senior year of college, I considered volunteering at the local SPCA as I love animals. But it took them a six month commitment period, which I could not do, since before that I would have finished my studies and left. You should always check if an organization or group has similar requirements before diving too deep into them. In my case, I found another organization that had a similar reason but was less well known – and they agreed that I volunteered at the time I left. Don’t give up just because the most obvious organization doesn’t fit your schedule – most likely someone else will do.
Find passive ways to fight back
If you really don’t have the time to give, you can still help others through passive channels that don’t require you to go anywhere or spend a lot of time. The most obvious form of this is cash donations . If you want to help but don’t want to give money , you can also donate supplies or even your own items that you no longer need.
You can also help by sending a message via email and social media. This does not mean that you should forward spam messages to everyone in your contacts, but simply sending a link to the site of the organization of your choice can help spread the word about their cause.
If you even feel like it’s too much for you, you can still help so that you don’t have to deviate from your current schedule at all. Here are some examples to get you started:
- Donate your extra computing power to a volunteer computer project – NetworkWorld has a great list of projects to get you started .
- Donate to charity while playing sports .
- Make a portion of your purchase for charity when you shop on Amazon (there’s even a Chrome extension that makes sure you always do this ).
- Use the search engine Goodsearch and they will donate a dime for every search you perform.
- Share your photos through the Gift Photo app and a portion of the proceeds will go to charity.
You have many options that take little time or effort, but still benefit others.
Volunteer remotely when there is nothing nearby
If you can’t find something that works for your schedule, try searching online. Volunteering remotely gives you more flexibility in the time you spend helping. If you volunteer through an app or website, you can sign in when you have free time. Even if you are only available late at night, you can teach someone in a different time zone, or copy-edit teaching materials.
Start with virtual learning or mentoring sites like I Could Be , Achivement Advocate, and Vmentor . If you don’t like this kind of volunteering, you can also find more unique concerts. One example is Be My Eyes , which connects blind people with seeing volunteers who help them perform visual tasks using their phone’s camera.
Use the skills you already have and lend a helping hand by building a website, entering data, helping with social media or marketing materials, etc. If you don’t find such volunteer needs on the organization’s website, call them as they may not have thought about using volunteers in this way. Even if your talents lie in less administrative skills (like playing a musical instrument), you can still use them to help charities raise money . You can even volunteer for just 15 minutes at a time with Volunteer Guide . Basically, whatever your skills or interests, you should be able to find suitable remote volunteering opportunities.
Look for opportunities that fit your life goals
View volunteering as an opportunity to pursue other goals, such as teaching home improvement skills or attending other events such as concerts, groups, or other places where volunteers may be needed. Use volunteer projects or events as a memorable experience for you, your friends, or family. You will be able to spend time with those you care about and connect them with shared altruistic experiences.
If you are truly overwhelmed with work responsibilities, consider the career benefits of volunteering. You can learn new skills that employers might find interesting and that might convince your employer to allow you to spend some time as a volunteer. You may even be able to start a volunteer program at work. You can convince your employer by pointing out how such a program contributes to the achievement of corporate responsibility goals. You will also provide yourself with opportunities for leadership and the chance to forge deeper connections with your peers.
If you want to back up your recommendations, volunteering is a great way to reach out to someone who can write a recommendation letter for you at the end of a project. As Forbes mentions , you can also find volunteer jobs to complement your resume, such as a board member.
The fact that you cannot engage in projects or organizations that take a long time does not mean that you should completely give up volunteering. By finding opportunities that fit your schedule, you can still give without losing your career or social life.