There’s certainly no shortage of worthy causes to which people can devote their time volunteering, however the barrier for those with busy and/or unpredictable work schedules is that often that the process requires one to commit to the same number of hours at the same time each week. The good news is there are many (many!) ways to give back that don’t require a big commitment, and today we’ve picked just a few to get you started. Here, 5 flake-friendly ways to volunteer your time.
Volunteers on Doobert.com can sign up to help transport animals in the rescue process from kill shelters to no-kill shelters, foster homes, etc. As a volunteer, you simply list the days you may be available along with the distance you’re willing to drive, and Doobert will notify you when a transport is needed that might match your availability. (You’re never obligated to accept a transport.) And if you want to be more involved with specific shelters or rescue operations Doobert works with beyond transport, the site makes it easy to connect.
Volunteering with the elderly is a great way to give back whenever you find you have a little spare time, as there are fewer commitment requirements than with some other types of volunteer work. With Elder Helpers, all you have to do is create a profile, submit to a background check and offer whatever services you feel most comfortable with. This can include giving an elder a ride to the doctor, picking up their groceries for them or simply keeping them company for an hour. It’s incredibly flexible, and the windows of time required are generally short and sweet. Plus, there’s no better education than listening to the stories and advice of an elder.
Girls on the Run
Girls on the Run is an organization targeting pre-adolescent girls that aims to provide them with the necessary tools to embrace their individual strengths and successfully navigate life experiences. As we all know, growing up a girl is not easy, so this feels like a tall—and meaningful—order. Volunteers with the organization can opt to be Coaches, who work with a specific set of girls through a 10-12 week curriculum, or Running Buddies, who make a one-day commitment to complete a 5K with a specific girl, helping her along the course (while getting a workout).
Working with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) isn’t as flexible as some of the other options listed, but just thinking about it made us tear up, so we had to include it on this list. A CASA volunteer acts as an advocate for a child in foster care, speaking on their behalf in front of judges and others who will determine the child’s fate. In many cases, a CASA volunteer is the only consistent face a child will see throughout this traumatic process. Volunteering generally takes around 10 hours a month, but CASA asks that candidates are able to commit to seeing a case through to its end, which generally takes around a year and a half. Much of the work, however, can be done on your own timeline (excluding court appearances, of course).
Skills for Change
Billed as "online volunteering for busy people," Skills for Change matches your skill sets and interests (poverty, education, etc.) with "challenges" to help you volunteer your time and talents most efficiently. We found design and web development skills to be in the highest demand, but there are also opportunities for copywriters, "brainstormers" and more.