Not every volunteer opportunity requires you to spend money or get up and go somewhere to move heavy boxes or sweep an art gallery. Believe or not, sometimes getting out of bed isn’t even required to feed a child in need, provide useful animal and plant observations, or even help a blind person see. There are several apps that fly under the radar which allow people to help those in need just by taking pictures, making notes, completing a questionnaire or even just playing games.
Theses “micro-volunteering” apps take about five to ten minutes of your life to install and use so you can spend the rest of your day walking around with your head held high because you played a part in saving the environment or someone’s well-being. You can even host get-togethers with friends or family where you all keep track and share your volunteer progress on these apps, or just spread the word to people you know to give them a try. So get off social media, Candy Crush or whatever stupid game that takes up unnecessary space in your life and check out these simple and rewarding volunteer apps.
Feed a Person in Need
Smartphone apps like FoodTweeks, Leftover Swap and Feedie allow eople who upload their food intake and meals to contribute donation to American food banks, families in Africa or even people in your town at no cost.
FoodTweeks. Image courtesy of lesgourmands2-0.com.
FoodTweeks provides tips and advice for shaving off unnecessary calories or food in your diet and for every meal a user eliminates 40 calories or more from, FoodTweeks will make a donation to American food banks. If you share the app with friends and family, FoodTweeks will double or even triple their donation based on your food choices.
Leftover Swap. Image courtesy of urbannaturale.com.
The Leftover Swap app lets people with leftover food take a picture of their food, describe it and post it on the app. If anybody on the app in the area wants your food, you can arrange pick-up or delivery with that person and give them a fresh home-cooked meal that you would’ve thrown away anyway.
Feedie. Image courtesy of www.awhisperedwish.com.
Feedie allows people who love to share food photos on social media to actually encourage food donations to impoverished children in South Africa. Download the app and connect it with your social media channels then visit a participating Feedie restaurant. If you take a picture of your meal, that restaurant will make a donation to The Lunchbox Fund equal to the price of one meal on their menu. Granted you do need to leave the house in order for this to work; I know, such a huge effort.
Help Record Animal and Plant Life
iNaturalist. Image courtesy of nerdsfornature.org.
You can help researchers track and record new information on specific plants and animals without making any monetary donation. Smartphone apps like Penguin Watch, Wildebeest Watch, WomSAT, Chimp and See, iNaturalist, Science Gossip, Nature’s Notebook and many more allow people to study images and answer basic questionnaires to determine lifestyle, food, habitat or mating changes. Tasks may include tracking a herd, determining the direction of shadows in images, marking animal sites, and learning more about the animals and plants in your area. These are great apps that bring together communities of animal lovers and educate us on plant and animal life as well as make a difference.
Guide a Blind Person
Be My Eyes. Image courtesy of bemyeyes.org.
You can actually help blind people learn and experience the world around them. I’m blown away that these sorts of apps even exist and why there isn’t more public awareness for them. My Smart Eye lets a blind person take a picture of a place in their surroundings and invite volunteers to describe the image with as much detail as possible to the blind person using the text-to-speech feature on any smartphone. Be My Eyes on the other hand takes this concept a step further. Through this app blind people who are having trouble with a vision-related task can video chat with a volunteer who will provide directions and assistance through the blind person’s video camera on their smartphone. In this way, volunteers can connect with another person and help solve problems.
Share a Smile or Play a Game
Quingo. Image courtesy of www.adweek.com.
If you aren’t sure which volunteer opportunity you are most attracted to, the Spread Kindness and Quingo apps can virtually bring happiness and resources to anyone struggling. Spread Kindness asks the user to take a photo of them smiling and pass it on to other users. They also provide Kindness Cards so you can let the recipient know when you perform this act kindness. Quingo allows players to donate money to their favorite charity by earning “Hope Points” for every trivia question they answer correctly.
Ideal Impact. Image courtesy of idealimpact.org.
Have you tried some of these apps and are ready to get out and do more to help your community? Ideal Impact is a company that connects people with volunteer work opportunities in their area based on news stories they read online. Now thanks to their mobile, web and digital media tools, you can no longer fret and feel guilty when reading a features story about homeless people or a family who lost all of their clothes and possessions in a fire. This service will recommend ways you can help fight these disasters in your town.