At FedUni, as part of our Leadership and Volunteering Awards Program, each year we recognise students who are ‘Volunteer Heroes’ – those who contribute over 100 hours of volunteer work to their communities, and attend at least 3 Leadership Development workshops on campus. For many people, 100 hours seems an unachievable amount of time, especially when it has to be balanced with course requirements, paid work, family and ‘me’ time. Spread over the course of a whole year, however it works out at approximately 16.4 minutes per day, or just over quarter of an hour.
As one of my New Year’s resolutions, I’m taking on the challenge of giving 100 hours back this year, and although some of that will be taken up with projects/fundraising etc, (I’m completing the Oxfam Melbourne Trailwalker this year for example), I’m definitely going to need some activities I can fit into my lunch break. Volunteering doesn’t have to be a major commitment; here are some micro-volunteering ideas to get you started…
Online Micro-Volunteering: This is one of the major emerging volunteer trends of the past few years – several websites have popped up allowing you to ‘donate’ a small amount of time for the benefit of others. It could be task-based – translating a press release, proof-reading, raising awareness through your social media channels for example, or virtual – answering questions, clicking links etc, which convert to charitable donations. Here are some of the websites which allow you to volunteer at your desk, or even on your phone:
Small Acts of Kindness: ‘Do a good deed every day’ is a bit of a cliché, but it works – pick up some litter around your neighbourhood or workplace, donate some old clothing to an op-shop or donate some blood! www.volunteerguide.org/minutes has some great ideas on how to make a difference in a short amount of time.
Help a Mate: You might not think of it as volunteering, but helping out someone in need is important, whether you know them or not! Use your specialist skills – if you know about computers, car maintenance, or cookery, why not use it to help out a friend? Alternatively, you could offer to take their children out for the afternoon so they can enjoy some free time or even just pop round for a chat and a cake with an elderly neighbour.
These are just some of the ways in which you could make a big difference in a small amount of time. If you have any other ideas or websites to add to this list, or want to share some of the things you do to help others, please don’t be shy – comment below!