3 min read

Volunteering for busy people

Many of us would love to volunteer but simply don’t have enough free time on our hands. The good news is, volunteering doesn’t have to hijack your days off – there’s a manageable way you can help good causes: microvolunteering.

A woman holding a box of toys and books in a charity shop

Microvolunteering is essentially volunteering but in a bite-sized form; the actions require little commitment so you can easily fit them around your busy schedule. Microvolunteering works by breaking a task into smaller chunks so that lots of people can contribute to achieving a bigger goal. For example, in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, many people were deemed missing. With the help of photographers and a microvolunteering network, volunteers could sit at their computer and identify missing people.

You might microvolunteer by:

  • Bag packing at a supermarket.
  • Supporting a charity at a one-off event.
  • Providing feedback on a piece of work.
  • Editing a press release, newsletter or web page.
  • Gathering information on a specific topic.
  • Testing a website.

What are the benefits of micro-volunteering?

  • It can increase your skills and bolster your CV.
  • It can be done at anytime and anywhere, so you can easily fit it around other commitments.
  • You can do as little or as much as you’d like.
  • The tasks are small but the impact is big.
  • There’s no formal agreement between the organisation and the volunteer.
  • It’s quick to start and complete.

When can I micro-volunteer?

Instead of twiddling your thumbs when you’ve got time to kill, occupy your spare moments with microvolunteering actions. We’ve highlighted those occasions you could be making a difference:

In the home

  • During TV ad breaks.
  • When the kids are in bed.
  • When you’re babysitting.


  • When you’re on a bus or train journey.
  • When you’re waiting around at the airport.

Out and about

  • When you’re at the library.
  • At the park when the kids are playing.
  • How to find micro volunteering opportunities?

If you’re on the lookout for micro-volunteering opportunities but don’t know where to start, you might find these websites useful:

Help from Home »
UNV online volunteering »
Global Giving »

And here are some simple ways to help your community.

Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Talking Finance content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions.