Don't have time to volunteer? Here's how to make it work

Don’t have time to volunteer? Here’s how to make it work. 

18 May 2022

When talking to employees and business members, something that we often hear is: ‘I’d love to, but I don’t have time to volunteer’. And trust me, we know how you feel! 

Between balancing careers, family commitments, exercise, self-care, social lives, and everything else we have going on, sparing even an hour a week to volunteer can feel like an impossible feat.  

In many cases, people who want to give back but simply don’t have the time resort to giving donations instead. This is a great way to support the non-profits you care about but it’s not the only way!  

Here are our top tips to make volunteering work when you don’t have time.  

Do something you actually really love 

This may seem obvious but it’s far easier to make time for something you really enjoy doing. Think about the parts of your job that bring you the most satisfaction or an interest outside of work that you would love to pursue – chances are there’s a non-profit looking for support in a similar area!  

If you don’t have time to volunteer, getting involved in a role that genuinely brings you joy will not only be easier to work into your diary than something which feels like a chore, but it will also help you to experience the benefits of volunteering to an even greater extent.  

Be realistic about how much time you have to give and set clear boundaries  

We all know what it’s like to set a really ambitious goal that is near impossible to stick to (I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to become a ‘gym before work’ person – it’s just never going to happen). And volunteering is no different.  

Before getting involved with any non-profit organisations, be really honest with yourself about how much time you actually have to give. It may be that you’re not available every Saturday morning but that you could spare an hour or two once a month, or that you’re not able to mentor someone on your lunch break weekly but fortnightly works fine.  

It’s important to communicate your availability clearly to the organisation you’re supporting and ask them to be honest about the scope of the role in order to manage expectations and build a healthy relationship between you both.  

If you don't have time to volunteer, getting involved in a role that genuinely brings you joy will be easier to work into your diary than something which feels like a chore.

Search for opportunities in your local area 

On Social Good Connect and most volunteer recruitment services, you can search for volunteer opportunities by location. It might be that you want to volunteer somewhere close to your office or to your home but either way, you don’t need to travel miles to give your time!  

Virtual volunteering  

Or, even better, volunteer without leaving your home at all! Virtual volunteering is an increasingly popular way to give your time to a cause that matters to you. Things like mentoring, befriending, giving advice, writing, video editing and more, can all be done remotely and make a huge difference to the organisation that you’re supporting.  

Virtual volunteering opportunities often take place regularly for short periods of time or over the course of a project, for example, providing marketing advice to a charity going through a rebrand on a 15-minute weekly Zoom until launch day.  


And if that even feels like more time than you’re able to give, then why not try micro-volunteering? Micro-volunteering opportunities are one-off volunteering roles which don’t take much time and don’t require any vetting or training to support.  

Things like participating in a beach clean-up or community clean-up of some kind, collecting food donations and dropping them into your local foodbank, contributing to a scientific survey (eg. reporting hedgehog sightings, prevalence of ticks, etc. in your local area to aid with various research projects) or even distributing leaflets and generally promoting a non-profit are all great ways to volunteer without making a major time commitment.  

When ‘volunteering’ isn’t volunteering 

Often people hear the word ‘volunteer’ and they have a very fixed idea of what that means. They think of their volunteering activities as ‘helping out’ (I’ve even heard of a charity trustee saying – ‘I’m not a volunteer, I just help’!).  

But regardless of what you want to call it, doing something kind for someone else doesn’t need to be time consuming. If you have ever written to an MP about a cause that’s important to you, or signed a petition, or bought groceries for someone who needed support or even just checked in on a neighbour in a tough spot then you can consider yourself a volunteer.  

So, instead of thinking of ways to volunteer, focus on the ways you already ‘help out’, could you do more of this? 


Finally, multi-task! Why not look for a way to combine some of your goals with volunteering.  

Want to do more exercise? Volunteer with a youth sports group!  

Want to meet new people and socialise more? Help organise the coffee mornings at a local community centre. 

Always wanted to develop your photography skills? Reach out to an organisation you care about and offer to help them create images for their website and social media.  

The opportunities are endless!  

Is volunteering for you? 

If you want to learn more about how Social Good Connect can help you and your time find quick and easy volunteering opportunities then why not speak to us today?  Or contact us here if you’d like to enquire about signing up.    

Written by Betty Henderson

Join 100s of people and hear Caroline’s Thursday Thoughts.

Caroline has made it her life’s work to help people make more meaningful decisions to support their communities and she’s learned some golden nuggets along the way!

So, join Caroline each week for her ‘Thursday Thoughts’ on all things people, planet, philanthropy or purpose all served with sprinkle of fun (but unfortunately no prosecco) to inspire you.