January 14, 2009

Volunteerism on the Go: A quick guide to Making your Minutes Count!

Don’t have the time to head down to the community center? Is the nearest soup kitchen 45 miles out of town? Never fear – there are a million and one easy ways to volunteer, often right from your own home!

GIVE a Little Bit

Put a jar at home or the office, for loose change. Instead of buying something for yourself, donate that which would have probably gotten lost in the couch cushions anyway. Companies can give back to the local community. Parents, get your kids involved. Teach them about giving to others by choosing a charity together.

GET a Little

Are you an online shopper? Register with GreaterGood or iGive to donate a portion of your spending to charity. Zine fan? Good magazine is a socially conscious reader that donates your entire subscription fee to the charity of your choice.


All of this talk about global warming and carbon footprints keeping you up at night? You know the drill. Turn your thermostat down a couple of degrees, or wash your clothes with cold water. Express yourself by getting a cool cloth bag to carry your groceries home in. Carpool.

BE Digital:

The internet is the best resource for using your days’ wasted minutes to make the world a better place. Amnesty International makes activism easy with their Online Action Center. Set your preferences to alert you as often as you want about the causes you choose. Amnesty will send you an email about issues or petitions that you may be interested in. If you have more time to give, mentor a child online through ICouldBe or Vmentor.

Or find your own way to think outside of the box. Philanthropy is not only for the rich, nor is giving only for those who have an abundance to give. This year, add volunteerism to your to-do list. It barely takes a minute.

Have your own ideas? Let's hear them!

This post was written by Allison Tritt, a former high school English teacher, volunteer for Oxfam Japan and blogger with Literacy ‘n’ Poverty Project. She blogs to foster global awareness and remind others that there is always a way to get involved. Please leave your comments or email Allison at ajtritt@gmail.com with any questions.


Leah said...

Did you take a foreign language in school? Organize English lessons for immigrants in your town at the local library. Rooms are usually free to rent and there’ll never be a better way to improve your language skills. If you don’t want to do it on such a big scale then just put your language skills to use in general. I know almost everyone takes a little Spanish in high school or college. Next time you see that quiet Latino guy or girl working his/her ass off, open up your mouth and say, Que pasa? Talk a little, let them know your not just some gringo behind an invisible wall.

Christa said...

Hi Allison,
What a great list and reference for people. There are so many small ways to make a difference. Technology has also enabled people to give back even if they just want to sit on their couch or only have time available at odd hours.

HelpFromHome said...

Here's another source of good links to easy home based volunteering actions - some of which only take about 10 seconds to complete. With that in mind, I don't think there's any excuse NOT to volunteer your time now.
Help From Home http://www.helpfromhome.org/

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