NobleHour Solutions

NobleHour provides businesses, nonprofits, schools, and higher education institutions an easy online platform to find, and manage volunteers, track hours and measure their community impact.

Business

Engage your employees, connect with community partners, and track the impact your organization is making in the community.

Nonprofit

Post opportunities, connect and engage with your volunteers, and track the impact your volunteers are making in the community.

K-12

Easily connect with community partners. Track and verify student volunteer hours, and create powerful, impact reports.

Higher Ed

Connect your students, faculty, and staff with community partners; log, track, and verify volunteer hours; and collect service-learning reflections.

Why Volunteering is the Best Donation You Can Give

Volunteers serving food in their local community food bank.

Don’t just donate your money—donate your time

It can feel hard to donate sometimes: limited resources, limited time. But the instinct to give is a universal one, and it can benefit more than just the recipient. Supporting causes, whether with our time or money, can do great things for both you and the world at large. Getting involved helps you stay connected and promotes well being for everyone, plus it helps someone (or something) else at the same time.

However, if you really want to support your community or your favorite causes, you should consider signing up as a volunteer instead of (or in addition to) donating. Volunteering, unlike a donation, gives you the chance to see your impact up close. Serving a meal or helping someone learn to read gives you firsthand insight into how you’re making a difference — which is something you won’t get when you mail a check or drop off canned goods at a donation center.

There’s no denying that donations are powerful, but volunteers are what (and who) makes a difference in the end.

Volunteers are needed

Without someone to take action, all the money in the world won’t help. A warehouse full of nonperishable food items isn’t doing anyone any good if there aren’t people willing to distribute that food to those who need it. A season’s worth of donated coats, hats, and scarves is just a pile of stuff until someone coordinates with the homeless community.

All charitable efforts need people who are willing to do the work to raise awareness and to connect those who want to give with those who need the support. While it’s often helpful to donate items or monetary support, it’s always helpful to give your own time.

Anyone can volunteer

A barrier for a lot of people when choosing to give back to their communities, their favorite organizations, or the causes closest to their hearts is having money to give. It can be hard to commit financially even when you want to support a deserving cause.

But everyone’s got an hour (or sometimes even less) somewhere in their schedule every now and then to volunteer. In many cases, you don’t even need to be a certain age, have a specific level of education, or excel at any particular skill. You just have to show up!

And if you do have a special skill or a unique talent, even better! Put what you excel in to use for a good cause, whether it’s graphic design or calling an auction. It’s even possible for people with disabilities or geographical challenges to volunteer, thanks to the World Wide Web. (Not in the same city as your favorite nonprofit? No problem!) Virtual volunteers are able to help with admin, social media, and even communications from the comfort of their own home – and on their own schedule.

Personal benefits of volunteering

Volunteering promotes a host of benefits that you just won’t see when you write a check or donate items or food. The biggest of these benefits, of course, is the people. Interacting with other people gives you an opportunity to build relationships, learn new things, and become part of a community. Whether you’re looking for a friend or even for a new job, networking through volunteer opportunities can create impactful connections.

There’s also evidence to suggest that participating in volunteer activities can help you live longer. A UK study discussed in Time highlights how volunteering has a “favorable effect on depression, life satisfaction, and wellbeing.” The study also reported a 22% reduction in mortality compared to non-volunteers.

Volunteering and physical health are obviously closely connected, and the Corporation for National and State Volunteering reports that states with the highest rates of volunteers are also found to be the healthiest in the country. Get healthy; volunteer!

How you can help

Check with your favorite organizations and local charities for specific opportunities, but keep these common volunteer needs in mind:

Check with your favorite organizations and local charities for specific opportunities, but keep these common volunteer needs in mind:

  • Libraries Whether shelving books or helping with events, libraries are often an important resource for populations that need a little extra support and can almost always use extra helping hands. You can help promote literacy, connectivity, and a sense of community through library programming.
  • Hospitals – Health care facilities of all kinds enlist volunteers to support blood drives, man the gift shop, or help visitors find their way. Since hospitals can be a very stressful environment, having a kind face there to help out can make all the difference in a patient’s or family member’s day. 
  • Kids – You can help kids with their homework, learning to read, or just spending some time outside through both local and national organizations. Schools, childcare centers, and churches are great places to start. Also check out nationwide programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America or Ronald McDonald House Charities.
  • Elder care –Delivering meals, assisting with daily tasks, or just lending an ear are popular ways to care for the elderly in your community. Visit retirement communities, care centers, Veterans Affairs offices, and community centers to get involved.
  • Animal shelters – Many shelters look for volunteers to walk dogs, clean kennels, and help out at adoption events. Animals need lots of ongoing care so opportunities to work with cats, dogs, birds, or even horses are frequently long-term commitments. You can even host a fundraiser to prevent animal cruelty.
  • The arts – Theaters, symphonies, and dance companies are often volunteer-based—or offer a chance to support the arts as a volunteer. Check with performing arts centers near you to find opportunities to serve as an usher or in the box office.
  • Blood donation – This one requires a little more than just your time, but organizations like the Red Cross are always in need of the whole blood donations that help save lives and it usually takes only about an hour. To see if you can donate blood, check out the Red Cross’s eligibility requirements.
  • Disaster relief – Especially if you live in an area known for any kind of natural disaster, you can get involved with emergency response organizations before another event strikes. Volunteers can help educate and prepare people beforehand, coordinate response efforts during an event, or help with clean-up and rebuilding efforts after the fact. Donating money during these times is great, but an “all hands on deck” approach is what gets your community back on track after a disaster.
  • On your phone – Really limited on time or have restricted mobility? Apps like Be My Eyes, which connects visually impaired persons with sighted volunteers to provide visual help through live video, are being developed all the time so you can help others right from your phone. Apps like NobleHour can also help you “drop in” on volunteer opportunities in your area if you find yourself with a few free hours on a given day.

Start donating your time now

There are new and different ways to help out all the time. Whether it’s spending 90 seconds on your phone to help a blind person set their thermostat or committing to becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister, make volunteering part of your routine. Start small or start big—but start now. Make it a priority to give of yourself, not just of your money. Your time as a volunteer can make all the difference to your community. Your service is the best donation you can give!

Since 2007, NobleHour has proven to be the volunteer management solution for organizations across the nation. With its robust online platform, NobleHour enhances community engagement with a variety of innovative and transformative tools for finding, tracking, and measuring volunteer, service‐learning, and community service initiatives. With offices in Lakeland, FL, and Portland, OR, the NobleHour team is dedicated to empowering good in communities across the country.

 

By NobleHour Special Contributor:

Latasha Doyle
Consultant, NobleHour
Contributing Writer
Denver, Colorado

Latasha Doyle is a writer and long term care volunteer living outside of Denver, Colorado. When she’s not writing or volunteering, she enjoys crocheting, Netflix marathons, and planning her next trip.