The Challenges of Volunteering: Finding The Time

Most of my friends are between the ages of 23 and 53, and although we could have quite different perspectives on matters like dating and style, One thing we all have in common- “life is insanely busy.” It’s difficult for any of us to find time for volunteering when we’re all so preoccupied with our jobs and family life. But the desire to help others shouldn’t be set aside until you feel you have the “time” that day may never come. If you’ve already given your time and seen the difference your efforts can make, why put it off?

Thankfully, there are so many opportunities for volunteering these days (thank you, internet!) that with a little bit of research, you may discover something that fits your interests and time limits.

Naturally, finding the time to volunteer may seem to be the toughest obstacle of all, but remember that volunteering is worthwhile for any spare time you have. You just have to make it happen. It’s a terrific chance to get outside of your comfort zone and experience a setting other than work and family. How? Read on.


Establish a time budget for volunteering. When making arrangements, you can be honest with your organization of choice if you know ahead of time just how much time you can spare. If you stick to your plan, you won’t have to worry about feeling stressed and overwhelmed as 10 hours turn into 20. Set a specific time limit for both you and the charity you are supporting.


It’s okay if you don’t have the time to volunteer every week. Many nonprofits have opportunities that are once a month or even once a quarter. (Ahem, Caregiver Volunteers!) When you find a nonprofit you like, get in touch with them and explain your availability, along with a description of your skills. Even if you could have some setbacks, there are groups that will accommodate your schedule and interests. Make a list of at least five nonprofits where you believe your abilities will be valued when you are looking at choices, and don’t quit if the first few don’t work out.


Volunteering has changed because of the internet. Numerous jobs can be done online from the comfort of your couch. Today, you can assist a nonprofit with their social media or email marketing campaigns, as well as website development, grant writing, and marketing collateral. A phone or internet connection are the only things needed. With many of these tasks, you wouldn’t be locked into set hours or required to work at certain times of day—your goal would be project completion. It doesn’t get more flexible than that.

Look for ways to combine volunteer time with other interests.

We understand that there are simply not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you want to. So why not multiply? For instance, if you frequently struggle to find time for grocery shopping, consider looking into programs like Caregiver Volunteers (sorry another shameless plug), where you can buy groceries for a nearby senior. (Since you have to go there, why not make the trip worthwhile on two occasions?) Likewise, you never seem to be able to find time with friends; ask them if they’d like to join you for a few hours at an organization in need. You could make some wonderful memories together that will make for much better stories than brunch.

As with anything in life, you get what you give. So while finding time to volunteer may seem daunting at first. The payoff, that feeling of fulfillment and contentment you get from helping others and making a difference, is well worth it.

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