Micro-volunteering: fitting volunteering into your busy life

What would you think of if we were to ask: “do you want to volunteer?”

Would you think we’re asking you to volunteer at a Brownie Pack for a few hours every week? Or would you think we’re asking you to serve community meals every Saturday?

That’s not what we’re asking at all.

We’ve discussed before that there are many reasons that people think they can’t volunteer, the biggest reason being ‘lack of time.’ If you have caring responsibilities, or you can’t fit it around your job, or you have other commitments, these don’t have to be a barrier to volunteering and you can still get involved in your community.

What is micro-volunteering?

Volunteering can be anything from calling in on a lonely neighbour or making them a meal once in a while to donating clothing to a charity shop or having a litter pick down your street. It doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment either. You could also get involved in a one-off local event and give just a few hours a year.

This kind of volunteering is known as informal or ‘micro-volunteering,’ and here, we’ll be explaining what this type of volunteering involves and the big impacts these small acts of kindness can have on others.

“Small bite-size volunteering with no commitment to repeat and with minimum formality involving short and specific actions that are quick to start and complete.”

Why micro-volunteering could be the route for you.

The eight key features of micro-volunteering, according to NCVO, are:

  1. Duration: it takes a small amount of time.
  2. Access: it’s easy to do.
  3. Immediacy: it’s quick to start, quick to complete and requires little to no planning.
  4. Convenience: You’re in control, you decide when and where to fit it in.
  5. Level of formality: there’s no formal agreement to your volunteering
  6. Frequency: you don’t have to commit to regular volunteering, you can do a one-off task, or  drop in and out as and when you can or would like to.
  7. Activity: they’re often simple acts that don’t involve major activities.
  8. Location: you don’t even have to leave home – it can be done anywhere including your front room or online

Based on our belief that “everyone has something to give,” volunteering has this statement at its heart. Informal volunteering – or micro-volunteering – as it’s often known, is a simple idea: it’s community action in short, convenient, bite-sized chunks. It takes volunteering to a new level; small and easy acts of kindness that can be done any time and by anyone.

Micro-volunteering doesn’t need any ongoing commitment and can take place literally anywhere, whether that’s at home, in the community, online… The possibilities are endless.

The benefits of micro volunteering are:

  • It will give you more flexibility with volunteering; you’re in control, giving you the opportunity to volunteer on your terms as and when you can.
  • It’s a quick and easy way to engage in volunteering and getting involved in your community. You can make a difference in a minute!
  • You can get to know an organisation before committing (or deciding to commit) to a volunteer role on a more long-term basis.
  • You can still get the rewarding benefits of volunteering, that feel-good factor that comes with helping others, knowing you’re doing something good for people in need and society as a whole.
  • It gives you the opportunity to try different types of volunteering and follow up on the ones you enjoy the most.

The benefits of micro-volunteering go both ways too, your contribution to the community won’t go unnoticed. Regardless of how much time and effort you give, you’ll still be raising awareness of a cause you’re passionate about, increasing community engagement, and tackling the issues that affect your community.

Get going with your micro-volunteering.

We’ve listed some more informal volunteering ideas to get you started.

Click here to find out more about starting your volunteering journey.

If you’d like to discuss more regular volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us on 01782 683030 or via [email protected].