Friday 19 October 2018

Have a few spare minutes? Here’s how you can help those in need

The propulsion for betterment quite often grinds to a halt somewhere around mid-January.

New Year’s resolutions made in the dazzle of the festive period can lose their sparkle once the reality of daily life kicks in. Running marathons, reading the entire works of Shakespeare and volunteering for worthy causes tend to slide down the list of priorities – settling somewhere behind work deadlines, house DIY, meal preparation, bin collections and school runs. And, perhaps you feel worst about shirking your volunteering promise. But life, with all its to-do lists and circled calendar days can drain your energy and sap any do-goodery inclination you might have to volunteer.

It’s worth remembering, though, that this is circumstantial. Your failure to commit to charity work is due to a lack of time, not a lack of motivation. After all, the Irish have a reputation for being generous. According to the Charities Aid Foundation’s World Giving Index (September 2017), we are officially the most generous country in Europe. As a nation, we pride ourselves on helping others and everyday acts of kindness, like offering Bernie down the road a lift or helping Martha with her shopping, slip into our routines effortlessly. It is only volunteering for charities that at times can seem like a daunting prospect.

But what if there was a different way to volunteer? Less demanding on your schedule but no less effective for the recipient organisations? Dairygold is pushing the micro-volunteering concept and asking you to devote a few of your spare minutes to worthy causes.

What is micro-volunteering?

If you’ve ever observed a line of ants weaving through the garden, each carrying an almost infinitesimal portion of a leaf collected to feed the colony, you’ll understand how small contributions from a big group can make even large-scale projects possible.

Micro-volunteering splits massive jobs into quick, manageable tasks that can then be distributed to willing volunteers. The tasks take no more than a few minutes and involve no long-term commitment on the part of the volunteer. It is a way of sharing the burden of volunteering among many – without in any way diminishing the end result or the participant’s sense of satisfaction. This is volunteering in bite-size chunks.

The term ‘micro-volunteering’ first appeared in the early noughties to denote individuals supporting grassroots organisations and international NGOs on the other side of the world using the internet. And, it’s not possible to exaggerate the role technology has played in making volunteering both easier and more accessible. Websites and smartphone apps allow people to engage in efficient bursts of altruism without the need for lengthy application or training processes. The internet gives you a platform to make a difference on your own terms.

Tasks could range from signing a petition to writing a letter to a sick child in hospital and as the micro-volunteering trend gains momentum, more charities are thinking how to categorise work into ‘micro-actions’.

The organisations you can help out

As part of its micro-volunteering campaign, Dairygold has partnered with six organisations – Be My Eyes, The Cheetah Conservation Fund, count flowers for the Bees, Meitheal Dúchas, Gender and Tech Magazines and Post Pal – that need your help. To find a micro-volunteering opportunity that interests you, log on to www.makeaminute.ie, then follow the organisation’s instructions on how to complete your simple task. When you have finished and are radiating that philanthropic glow, spread the word so the movement can gain more volunteers.

You could be lending sight to the visually impaired with Be My Eyes, helping the Cheetah Conservation Fund in central Namibia gain vital insight into the majestic predator’s habitat or creating a vital ‘flower map’ for pollen and nectar seeking bees with count flowers for Bees. And, if none of those jobs take your fancy perhaps you might be more interested in transcribing handwritten stories for Meitheal Dúchas, researching how women are represented in tech magazines for Gender and Tech Magazines or sending cards, letters and gifts to seriously ill children with Post Pal. There really is something for everyone.

What is the Make a Minute initiative?

The creamy taste of Dairygold spreads straight from the fridge, giving you that extra minute to spend doing something that matters to you. This is how the Make a Minute initiative was born.

In 2017, as part of the Dairygold Roller Toaster Good Stuff Tour, we met lots of volunteers all over Ireland, who made a minute of the good stuff for others.  We learnt that doing good can also feel good so this year, Dairygold is helping bring the world of micro volunteering to the public.

This year the Irish powerhouse is partnering with six organisatons directly to create the slew of micro-volunteering opportunities outlined above. Dairygold wants you to live well and do good. And with volunteering missions outlined so plainly, what could be simpler?

Feeling inspired?

Grab your smartphone, tablet or laptop and use your spare minute to make a minute for someone else.  Visit www.makeaminute.ie to view the whole list of available opportunities. Isn’t it time you made a minute for the good stuff?

Sponsored by: Dairygold

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