Monday, March 03, 2008

People Don't Have Time to Volunteer

This article, in an Australian newspaper, cites a recent Red Cross study that concluded people don't have time to volunteer.

This isn't a big shocker, especially if you've been hit up to spare an hour or two somewhere recently and have declined the opportunity because it's tax time, things are busy at work, the kids are acting up, or this week just isn't good.

And while the survey does highlight that folks are busy, it also proves that the volunteer opportunities that sustained us then won't sustain us now.

So, nonprofits can do one of two things. They can keep the same opportunities with the same qualifications and commitments, or they can innovate and find new solutions to their dearth of (avail)able hands.

Sadly, very few entities out their are thinking of creating new initiatives or endeavors in order to accommodate a busier, more digital lifestyle. Today, people may not have two hours, but they may have one. Or half of one.

The problem isn't always that people simply aren't buying. They may just not want (or can't afford) what you're selling.

Comments (4)

I was one of those people who wanted to volunteer but couldn't make the big commitment that some organizations required. When I found "Hands on Nashville," I was linked up with small opportunities that required less time and less upfront notice than I had seen before. It made it possible for me to give time whenever I could find it. Once I did, I found the experiences to be satisfying and exhilarating which helped me become more committed. So I think that organizations need to find a way to get people on board in small ways in order to build a satisfying relationship with a larger group of volunteers.

Cool blog.


Thanks, Allie. I'm a fan of HON because they do provide opportunities that are unique, relevant and easy for folks to do. The more nonprofits that get creative and offer such opportunities, the better the sector will be.


9:50 PM

I agree completely. I want to volunteer more because I love the feeling that I've helped someone, but I'm busy absolutely ALL THE TIME. Somehow between homework, supper, practice, and sleep, I've managed to read this and comment. Quick question, do you know of any national organizations that don't require a lot of my time but that I could still help with? I want to so much, but I live in a tiny town away from everything, and I don't feel like I have the resources or opportunities. Any tips?

Thanks =]

Hi Megs:

Thanks for commenting, and I totally hear your lament. It can be very tough to find something in a tiny town, but you could also find one particular cause that you're passionate about, and get on board with them.

Other than that, sites like and had lots of ideas, listings and resources, no matter where you live.

Good luck!