Monday, April 6, 2015

7 Ways to Volunteer When You're Short on Time

If you've noticed my silence for the past week or two, I apologize.  Life got in the way, as it tends to do.  I haven't had too much extra time to do the things I love - blogging, writing, volunteering.  I especially miss walking dogs at the shelter.  This made me think:  Lots of people, surely, have this issue.  Not enough hours in the day to volunteer.  So for those of you with too much on your plate to participate in the "hands-on" part of volunteering, a list of other ways to help animals in need.  Feel free to add more in the comments!

AmazonSmile - If you're a frequent Amazon shopper, check out their AmazonSmile program.  It allows you to purchase the same items you would normally buy on the site, while donating .5% of the price to the charitable organization of your choice.  It takes virtually no extra time out of your day, and your online purchases can benefit animal rescues - definitely a win-win!

Share a photo or blog post.  Let's say you're scrolling through Facebook while holding for a work call.  When you scroll by a cute photo of an adoptable kitten or a sad story about a dog in need, stop.  Don't scroll past...instead, click "share."  Just one click.  It really can make a difference.  This blog post is spot-on - I follow multiple pages on Facebook in which sharing and liking photos is what it's all about.  A couple great examples are Susie's Senior Dogs and Minnesota Dogs in Danger.

Remember this pittie-dachshund mix who went viral back in January?  That's what shares can do!!

Make a monetary donation or a donation of supplies.  If you aren't able to donate your time, consider donating in other ways.  Shelters are always in serious need of financial assistance, and they can almost always use practical supplies like bleach, towels, or newspaper.  A monthly donation doesn't take much effort - box up the supplies or seal an envelope and stick it in the mail.  Nonprofits are grateful for whatever you're able to give!

Send an email to your senator.  If your laws relating to puppy mills or animal abuse are anything like ours here in Iowa (awful), send a quick email to your senator.  Explain your experiences with the horror of puppy mills and why these laws need to improve.  Our voices can be heard if we care enough to speak out.

Transport.  Going on a business trip?  Find a Facebook page or website that organizes animal transports in that area and see if there is a dog or cat (or sometimes rat, ferret, or bunny!) that needs to hitch a ride.  There are tons of transport organizations out there, and they appreciate the offer, even if no transport is needed at that time or place.  Plus, animal transports are a blast - read more about my experiences here.  And here!

Ask for donations to a local shelter instead of gifts.  Let's face it:  Shelter dogs need food and comfy blankets more than you need another pair of slippers for Christmas.  Instead of making lengthy lists for Christmas, birthdays, or other parties, ask for donations to help animals in need.

Offer your skills and talents.  If you're a writer, offer to write up descriptions to make adoptable dogs' personalities shine.  If you're a photographer, take some photos of adorable adoptables over your lunch break.  Graphic designer?  Print out some flyers for the local shelter.  IT expert?  See if a rescue could use your expertise in making over their website.  Your work days might seem boring and dull to you, but shelters or rescues will jump at an offer of help.  How might your day-to-day tasks benefit nonprofit organizations?


  1. Amazon smile is really cool; it's something so unexpected that can really have an impact. People love to shop - so why not help out at the same time. I'm also a huge fan of shelters that use amazon wish lists; it's so nice to see exactly what they need, in what priority, and how many of each. It's astounding the amount of supplies they go through. Great suggestions - especially since there's one thing we all seem to be short on - time.

  2. Such a fantastic post! Not only are these terrific ideas for those without a lot of time available, they're also great for those who simply can't bring themselves to volunteer inside a shelter. Sharing.

  3. Such a great post. I also like the Amazon smile option. You get to help out while doing something you already have planned. Donations are always helpful.

  4. Wow, that pittie-dachshund mix is adorable! Great ideas.

  5. These are all great ideas for helping out animals in need. There are so many ways to help besides volunteering. I'll have to look into that Amazon Smile. That's pretty neat! Thanks for this. Sharing!

  6. We've nominated you for two blogging awards. Please stop by our post tomorrow to see them!