The best thing about volunteering is that you don’t need to take on anything that doesn’t suit you. Make sure it’s an activity you’ll enjoy and get value from. With micro-volunteering you can choose tasks that you can start and finish within an agreed time frame, it’s bite-size volunteering, with short and specific tasks which are quick to complete. Whatever you choose, you’ll probably meet like-minded people; volunteering can be a fantastic networking opportunity.
Choose what kind of interaction you want with people – support calls, proof-reading or photo tagging can be micro! Good with your hands? Your local neonatal unit may be looking for knitted hats for newborns – see Bliss for details or get crafting for animal charities – find out more here. Perhaps you’d prefer something outdoors and physical? Litter collecting and clearing woodland is a great way to enjoy fresh air and feel good about the results – see #2minutebeachclean or #2minutestreetclean as examples. Volunteering within your own community can also be satisfying – anyone close to you need shopping, some gardening or dog walking? A bit every day helps.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations is a useful resource for general information on volunteering. You can find opportunities in your area at the Volunteer Centre here.
Find out more here. There are some simple rules which are worth reviewing to retain your benefits. Volunteering is set as ‘when you choose to give your time and energy to benefit other people without being paid for it’ so this applies to charities, voluntary organisations or community groups, public-sector organisations, for example the NHS, Police and other public services, social enterprises and local businesses. Volunteering is not being given money other than being paid out-of-pocket expenses or being under contract to do the work. Check it out with your Jobcentre Plus advisor if you’re unsure.
You can always volunteer to provide support from home. Age UK has volunteering opportunities that can be managed from your own home. Whatever you do, look after yourself and don’t take on too much.
Maximise your future opportunities. Micro-volunteering can be a quick win – check out the options, go for it and reap the rewards! It’s so popular, there’s even an annual Micro-Volunteering Day on 15 April.