Business Magazine

How To Give Back When You Have Little To Give

Posted on the 02 February 2012 by Classycareergirl @classycareer

One of the things that I want to do more on this blog is feature ways for us to help other women and make a difference in the world. That is why I am super excited that Christina Inge offered to contribute a few posts on making a difference.  Christina Inge is a marketer and volunteer at multiple organizations and charities and is going to share with us how we can make a difference with our busy schedules!

Looking for ways to pay it forward, but lacking the cash to endow a wing at the local library? You can, of course, volunteer time, rather than donate money, or stick to tried-and-true methods of microdonation, such as the donate $1 at the register drives that crop up at supermarkets.  But making a small donation, though helpful, doesn’t feel very impactful and volunteering time with school, work, friends, and family, seems almost as daunting as writing a big check. So do you wait till you’re  a wealthy woman before you can make a difference? Heck no.

Seems like we are all strapped for time and money at this stage in our lives. But making a difference doesn’t take a back seat for many young women, even when we’re juggling so many other priorities. I’m going to take a look at ways that cash and time-strapped working women can still give back, from building a career around your cause to making time to volunteer. Many of these actions you can take, though light on your wallet and taking little time, can make a tremendous impact. In this first part, I’m taking a look at volunteering opportunities that make helping manageable.

Microvolunteering: Making a Difference a Day at a Time

Microvolunteering is hot right now, garnering a lot of media coverage. It’s little surprise, since it blends social media and mobile—perennial hot topics—with doing good. The concept is that one-off jobs, such as designing a landing page for a fundraising campaign, are outsourced virtually to volunteers the world over, who often never meet the charities they help. The payoff is that you can take otherwise wasted time, like during the am commute, over lunch, or in front of the TV, and make it meaningful with volunteering.

Microvolunteering, in the strictest sense, is facilitated by different semi-social-media-style online platforms. The most popular at the moment is Sparked, which allows nonprofits to post small to medium jobs ranging from translation to web development to marketing. Potential volunteers fill out profiles indicating what they’re good at, getting emails when a task that fits their profile pops up. There’s an enormous need. I take part in Sparked myself; last time I logged in, there were over 6,000 jobs matching my skills.

What to Expect from a Microvolunteering Program

The tasks range from designing a postcard for a gala fundraiser (yes, that is a lot of fun), to simply giving advice on the best social media platform for a fundraising message. The time it takes to do good ranges from seconds to hours. If you truly can’t find anything at all to do among the posted tasks, rating work done by other volunteers is another choice.

Going Deeper with a Little More Time

For more elaborate projects geared towards women in the professions, consider Women On Call. Projects on this platform are meant to take about one hour. Women On Call’s projects tend to center around a few major professions, such as law. Projects may or may not require on-site meetings, so the commitment level is higher. If you’re looking to kick your volunteering up a notch from smallish one-time assists, this may be a good place to start.

Build Your Own Program

You don’t need to sign up for an online platform, though, to microvolunteer. Truth is, many traditional nonprofits are fine with your donating the limited time you have. If you have only a Saturday afternoon, signing up to sort groceries at a food pantry can get you out of the house or office, and is of real, practical help to a charity.

Young professional women also often have the skills nonprofits’ part-time staff lack, and that opens up another door for do-it-yourself microvolunteering opportunities. Social media diva? Call your local environmental group and ask if they need help getting out the word on Facebook—they probably do. Data junkie? Check to see if a local museum needs help analyzing their web analytics or donor relations platform to help identify where they’re succeeding at fundraising. Look at the skills you have, and find nonprofits that can benefit from them. Need help getting started? Identify the causes that are nearest to your heart, search the web for local charities that support those causes, and contact the volunteer coordinator. At smaller places, that will be the executive director herself—a sure sign you’re needed.

Where would you LOVE to volunteer your time?

Note: This post was written in association with ableBanking.  ableBanking is an online-only savings program that gives better rates, no fees – and one more thing: money to give to any charity you choose. For every new customer, ableBanking gives $25 to any 501c3 organization a customer designates, as well as an additional percentage of savings, on each account, every year. The model is simple – instead of spending countless resources on physical branches and advertising, ableBanking is investing their resources into providing its customers with no fee accounts, higher interest rates and money to give to the nonprofit organizations that make our communities better. Find out more at Together we are able to make saving better.

photo Credit: Planeta

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