11 ways to micro-volunteer

When we think about volunteering, it can often feel overwhelming – like we should be giving up whole days, weekends, or even more. And not all of us have the time for that.

But volunteering, or doing something charitable, doesn’t have to be a huge time dedication. You can put a lot of good back into the world just by giving up an hour, or even 30 minutes of your time – and even from the comfort of your own home.

If you’re struggling to figure out how to get started, here are 11 ideas for you.

EXPAND YOUR VOCAB.

Test your vocabulary skills by playing FreeRice, a vocabulary game that donates 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme for every question you get right. It’s quick and easy, and you’re making an impact every time.

GET PAW-SITIVE.

The charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People has a huge amount of micro-volunteering opportunities available. From occasionally walking dogs on a weekend, hosting a one-off fundraising event, or volunteering virtually there are so many ways you can support without making a regular time commitment.

PICK UP THE SLACK.

When you’re out and about, take a rubbish bag or two with you and see how much litter you can pick up. It might feel strange the first time you do it, but you’ll find that you’re able to make a huge difference with just ten minutes of your time – just like that.

SEND A SMILE.

Write a letter or postcard to a sick child with Post Pals – you don’t need to do it regularly, or even more than once, but it will put a huge smile on their faces. And it won’t even take you more than a few minutes to do.

TEST YOURSELF.

Take an online test with Project Implicit. The tests only last around ten minutes and can be done from a laptop or computer. It’s designed to help scientists better understand how to tackle society’s prejudices.

MAP THE WORLD.

Use AXSMap to rate how accessible shops, restaurants, cafes and more are. The rating is split into three stages – entrance, interior and restroom, which you can evaluate based on what you see. Just by popping out on your lunch break, you can make life much easier – and much more accessible – for everyone.

REPURPOSE.

Volunteer online with FCancer. With plenty of opportunities available, you can use skills like copywriting or editing that you might use at work or in your daily life to help support the charity. Pick up a one-off project, or go back again for more – it’s up to you.

BE SUPPORTIVE.

Help out Family Action by becoming a volunteer with their FamilyLine service. Commit just four hours a week to giving emotional support and guidance to family members over the age of 18. Training is provided.

DECODE THE WORLD.

Become an Amnesty International Decoder and use your phone or computer to help keep people safe around the world. From analysing tweets to photographing security cameras, there’s always something you can get involved with – and there’s no consistent time commitment.

DREAM BIG.

Use your phone for the greater good by downloading the DreamLab app. Your phone is a computer in its own right and, by downloading the app, it can process thousands of calculations while you sleep. The DreamLab app uses your phone to process data from research into cancer and, more recently, Covid-19, meaning you can save lives even while you sleep.

GIVE WHAT YOU CAN.

Set up a ‘take what you need’ station outside your home. They can be as cute as you like, or just a small shelter – but they’re a great way to help people out. Stock the shelter with items like toothpaste, canned goods or clean pairs of socks and restock every few days. Here’s one a teacher put together outside their classroom – it takes very little effort, but can make a huge difference!

Still stumped? Or maybe you just love unpredictability! If so, sign up to websites like Do It to sign up for one-off volunteering roles as and when you can.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.