With the holidays here, do you find yourself wishing you could donate more of your time and money to worthy causes?
As a work-at-homer (WAHer) do you find it difficult to leave your home business or all of your work-at-home jobs and/or children to volunteer?
Would you still like to really make a difference and lend a helping hand this holiday season?
If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, then microvolunteering may be your solution. You can now volunteer your time, skills, and talents from your laptop. There are online companies out there looking for microvolunteers just like you. While you won’t get paid, you also won’t have to spend a lot of time to make a positive impact in your community and worldwide.
What is micro volunteering?
Micro-volunteering (sometimes called “virtual volunteering”) is volunteering either individually or in a group via an Internet-connected device such as a laptop or cell phone to provide time, talent, and skills without payment to individuals, schools, companies or non-profits.
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This is certainly not to say that you couldn’t go to your favorite charity or cause and donate money online. You can do that especially at the end of the year and receive a tax-deduction just in time for the 2012 tax season. Organizations such as the American Red Cross and Arthritis Today are always looking for donations both online and offline.
However, if you are struggling financially or are simply too busy and would prefer an alternative way to volunteer, then some of these web sites listed below may be a better option for you.
Volunteer Match is one of the easiest web sites to start learning about micro-volunteering or virtual volunteering. There are articles about volunteering as well as in iPhone app to get you started. You will also find many matches in your area where you can still volunteer online.
Sparked.com is a web site whose goal is to help you find the causes that you are “fired up” about and then match one of your skills to that cause. For example, you might be “fired up” about animal conservation and would love to offer your blogging skills to your favorite nonprofit’s blog. Or you may prefer to proofread their press release. You can spend anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes volunteering your time for each skill.
Help From Home
HelpFromHome.org is a web site with the slogan of “Micro Effort. Macro Impact”. Here you can select from any number of non-profits and you can volunteer your time by using any number of skills (writing, proofreading, blogging, web design) as well as your crafting skills. You could knit a baby blanket from the comfort of your home and then mail it or take it to the donation drop-off. Each activity gets a “pajama rating” as to how easy was.
You can even host a microvolunteering party and invite your friends. See http://helpfromhome.org/our-projects/microvolunteering-party for more information.
TechSoup.org is a web site whose motto is “Donate Your Brain”, and you’ll be asked to volunteer your technical knowledge to answer questions from non-profits. TechSoup also has a hashtag on Twitter, #TechSoupDYB, and you can also answer with a link from their web site to follow these discussions. For example, a recent discussion was on how nonprofits can use Flickr.
AltrUHelp.com is another great web site that will help you volunteer virtually at corporations, schools, non-profits or for individuals. Their goal is to help you select three interests and three skills and then find just the right cause for you to volunteer.
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So, don’t let a lack of time and money hold you back this holiday season. Get online and get passionate about giving your time, energy, and talents to those non-profits and individuals who could really use it. Then see what blessings will come back to you. (Hint: This could also become a great way to practice a newly learned skill!)
Now, play it forward. Happy Holidays!