Ways to Fit Volunteering into Your Busy Schedule

How to Work, Study, and Volunteer at the Same Time

You know how it feels to help someone in need... good! Not only does volunteerism improve the world, but it also gives the volunteer a sense of purpose and adds meaning to his or her life. It is an instant boost of happiness and self-esteem. Unfortunately, many productive people don't volunteer because they can't fit another appointment into their planner and it's difficult to find time from the busy schedule. Just because you can't commit to projects or organizations that require a lot of time doesn't mean you should skip volunteering completely. By finding opportunities that fit your schedule you can still give back without losing out on your career or social life. You can volunteer without disrupting your current lifestyle so much so that you may not have to leave your house or even get up from your desk.

The following questions should help you focus on what you would like to do and the time you have to offer:
  • What times of the day are you free? Morning? Afternoon? Evening?
  • What days of the week are you free?
  • How much time do you wish to commit to volunteering? For example, one day a month, one hour a week, more than this or less?
  • How much time can you spare for volunteering? Remember your other commitments (family, hobbies, employment) and try not to over commit yourself. Are your circumstances likely to change in the near future?
  • What period of time can you commit to volunteering? For example, one day? A month? Six months? Some volunteering projects require you to stay for a minimum period of time, so do check before you decide on a project.
Here are few ways you can fit volunteering into your day no matter how busy you are:
  • Volunteer remotely if there is nothing near you
    If you can't find anything local that fits your schedule, try searching for online opportunities. By volunteering remotely, you have more flexibility with the time you spend helping out. If you volunteer through an app or site, you can login when you have free time. Even if you are only available late at night, you can tutor someone in another time zone or copy edit educational materials. Utilize the skills you already have and lend a hand by building a website, doing data entry, helping with social media, marketing materials, or many other tasks. Sometimes all you need to spend is only 15 minutes in a day for the virtual or online volunteering work.
  • Seek out passive ways to give back
    If you really don't have time to give, you can still help others through passive channels that don't require you to go anywhere or spend lots of time. The most obvious form of this is through monetary 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 want.
  • You can learn the skills employers want by volunteering
    You can find volunteer positions that will add to your resume. If you want to bolster your references, volunteering is a great way to connect with those who can write a reference letter for you at the end of a project. You can also get credit for any time or money you may have invested.
  • Find opportunities that fit your life goals
    Volunteering can be an opportunity to address other goals you have, like learning home improvement skills or going to more events like concerts, panels, or other places that may need volunteers. Use volunteer projects or events as a memorable activity for you, your friends, and your family. You will get to spend time with those you care about and bond over a shared, altruistic experience.

Volunteering is a rewarding experience. Hopefully these tips will help you fit it in.