At a Glance: Try microvolunteering — short bursts of giving back, such as delivering meals, making care packages or playing with animals.
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There are so many times when you have good intentions to help but not a lot of spare time. Don’t worry — there are still plenty of ways you can pitch in and make a difference in 30 minutes or less. It’s not always about the quantity of time you spend on community service but the quality.

Called microvolunteering, these short bursts of giving back still have a big impact. A prime place to start looking for ideas is the virtual volunteer section on VolunteerMatch. There are numerous project listings of things volunteers can do from home, such as promoting an organization through social media, mentoring an entrepreneur or translating an article into another language. 

A similar site called SkillsForChange asks about the different causes you are interested in and the type of work you like to do, such as research, design, brainstorming or fundraising. Then the site presents “challenges” that you can complete in a short time frame — it could be as short as 20 minutes.

Here are some other ideas for quick and easy volunteer work:


Small steps

Sometimes little things go a long way toward making a community better. Spend half an hour picking up trash around town or weeding the flowerbeds at the local park. Ask an elderly neighbor if they have any errands you could run, or pick up books for them at the library. 


Driver aid

Many organizations just need help with transportation. Community groups or religious institutions that provide meals often must gather donations to make the food. Offer to collect items from donors each week. 


Care packages

Make kits for homeless people and store them in your car. It could be bags filled with granola bars, peanut butter crackers, socks, water, tissues or gift cards to fast food restaurants. Then when you see people asking for money, you can hand out a care package instead.


Clean house

Look inside your own home for unused items and donate them to nonprofits like Goodwill. Some charities will even pick up donations from your house. Many of these nonprofits resell clothes, household goods, books, toys and more, which raise money for job training or services for their own clients. Another avenue is to volunteer at their thrift stores by helping them merchandise these treasures.


Cards of caring

Let people know you care with handmade greeting cards that you make on your own or as a family. They could be for sick children, nursing home residents or veterans recovering from physical or mental trauma.


Play with pets

Improve the lives of furry friends by volunteering with animals. Many humane societies need volunteers to take dogs on walks or to play with the cats. Before you know it, you’ll feel less stressed after spending time with the cute animals and fulfilled that you helped them out.

Don’t be shy about offering to help, even for just 30 minutes. When it comes to volunteer work, every minute counts.

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