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Keeping you up to date

Three tips to make micro-volunteering easier

15 November 2021 | 5 - 8 min read


“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu said.

His words emphasise that good deeds – no matter how small they may seem – can combine to create a powerful wave of positive change. Now there’s even a name for it: micro-volunteering.

The concept is simple. It means volunteering time, resources or skills to help a cause in short, sharp bursts – typically under half an hour.

“Micro-volunteering is by no means a new concept and has been around for a number of years, but it has become more popular since the onset of the pandemic because it opens up opportunities to help for people who don’t have the time or resources to commit to volunteering longer term – and even in the face of circumstances that have prevented face-to-face volunteering,” says Patronella Sono, Staff Volunteer Programme (SVP) Specialist at Momentum Metropolitan Holdings.

Finding ways to micro-volunteer can be as simple as: signing and sharing a petition, filling out a survey for a specific non-governmental organisation (NGO) or non-profit organisation (NPO), purchasing a raffle ticket, donating time to start or contribute to a fundraising or crowdfunding campaign, donating goods, watching/reading and sharing videos and articles about specific causes, retweeting or liking online and sharing donation opportunities on social media, or volunteering much-needed skills to projects.

Businesses today are increasingly making micro-volunteering part of their staff volunteerism programmes because of its ability to make a big impact with little difficulty and just small commitments.

“At heart, everyone is a giver and hardwired to do good deeds that will ultimately help others in their communities,” says Sono. “It is however, vital for companies to continue the momentum with their staff volunteering programmes to make it easier for staff that want to make a difference to get involved in micro-volunteering activities.”

Sono shares some tips that organisations can use to encourage and make it easier for staff to micro-volunteer:

1. Clearly communicate the ways in which people can offer service and contribute: this will likely differ from company to company, but typically covers the spectrum from volunteering time, donating goods, offering their professional skills to a wide range of non-profit organisations, all the way through to match-funding and payroll-giving. Many of these forms of micro-volunteering are now facilitated through online platforms such as forgood, which is a matching service between volunteers and organisations in need, to make it easier to connect people to causes.

2. Let employees know what the impact and value of their contribution is: share stories from the individuals and organisations that have benefitted directly from this contribution, and show the tangible difference it has been able to make in their lives. This makes the value of volunteering concrete, and gives it a human face. It can also help encourage others to volunteer in whichever way they can.

3. Show what company leaders are doing to play their part: Companies need to be able to show that the spirit of volunteerism and intent to help communities and make a difference starts at the top. Leaders need to act as role models, because their voices and actions hold real and far-reaching power and have the potential to act as a force for good. This will help ensure that volunteerism filters through all levels of the organisation, and truly becomes part of the company’s culture.

“We have invested in creating a culture of care through volunteerism over the years, and have seen the critical role that micro-volunteering plays within the staff volunteering ecosystem. Having micro-volunteers donate whatever time, skills or resources is manageable for them has made a tangible difference in building the resilience of the communities that need it the most,” says Sono.

“As companies, we should be encouraging and supporting these efforts as much as possible – because, by doing so, the little bits of good that Desmond Tutu spoke about, will come together to form a tidal wave that will change and grow South African communities.”

Where to start your micro-volunteer journey:


There is something for everyone, both in real life and via online support.

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