Discover the power of micro-volunteering and recharge your batteries by doing good

Your moment

Frequent business travellers are always on the go. In between packing briefcases, rushing to the airport and enduring intense meetings, they rarely get the luxury to unwind properly. And certainly they don’t have the time to engage in an activity as laborious as volunteering for a charitable organization. After all, they’re already struggling to maintain their own wellbeing.

But what if there was a way to help others while travelling, breaking down volunteering activities into more manageable bite-sized tasks that can be completed remotely? For busy road warriors, it’d be an opportunity not only to do good but also to reduce their own travel fatigue as evidence shows that helping others is actually beneficial for your own mental health and wellbeing.

Enter micro-volunteering.

To an extent, micro-volunteering is for the charitable sector what crowd work platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk are for the gig economy. Micro-volunteers sign up to help an organization supporting a cause they care about and they’re usually asked to complete simple but impactful tasks through their phone or laptop.

For example, one can join the ranks of Amnesty’s Decoders and help the organization’s researchers sift through pictures and documents to expose human rights violations. For the most recent Decoder’s project, almost 2,000 micro-volunteers turned into “troll patrols” analyzing hundreds of thousands of tweets sent to Indian women politicians over the 2019 Indian general election.

The “troll patrols” had to assess whether the tweets contained content deemed “abusive” or “problematic,” collecting data that can now be used by Amnesty’s data scientists to conduct an unprecedented analysis of the abuse faced by Indian women politicians online.

Would you prefer helping individual people rather than tackling larger social problems? Then, you should consider downloading Be My Eyes, an app that enables sighted micro-volunteers to give video assistance to blind and low-vision people.

From distinguishing colors to checking an expiration date and picking the right item at the supermarket, Be My Eyes is an effective tool to help blind and low-vision people live more independent lives.

The process is as simple as it gets and all you need is a phone with a front camera and an internet connection. Whenever a visually impaired user needs assistance, available sighted volunteers receive a notification and a video connection is established.

An app like Be My Eyes can also be an antidote to loneliness, which is a well-known drawback of business travel. In this regard, you may also check out the hearthwarming Post Pals, a charity which invites people to send letters or little gifts to seriously ill children to help them feel less isolated.

The charity ensures the children’s safety (they never divulge home addresses and personal details) and monitors the whole process, preventing situations à la Craig Shergold, the British boy who had a brain tumor in the ‘80s and kept receiving greeting cards after he successfully recovered, accumulating an estimated 350 million letters.

Whichever the cause you feel close to your heart, carving out time from your busy schedule for micro-volunteering can be a powerful way to boost your energy levels and feel less lonely while away on a business trip.

Don’t travel much for work? Micro-volunteering may still be a splendid opportunity to pass time in a productive way. From tedious commute to people that, for whichever reason, can’t leave their homes, micro-volunteering is for everyone willing to put their phones and a few minutes to good use.

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