How you can make a difference when you work a full-time job

Most of us want to make a difference, but when it comes to working around a full-time job, that’s not so simple.

Ultimately, helping others can come down to putting your own responsibilities first. But that doesn’t mean that you have to forgo that help completely.

Here are some tips for performing charitable work in addition to your full-time job.

Create a weekly schedule – and stick to it

The best way to know what time you have free is to make your weeks as regular as possible. If there’s a semi-regular event you can’t get out of – a haircut every three months, for example – try to always make it around the same time each time you go, or at least book it ahead of time so that you know exactly when it’ll be.

Creating a weekly schedule will allow you to dedicate your time regularly to a good cause, getting you in the habit of attending often. If you have a regular 9-5 job, this is also practical.

There are plenty of activities which you can participate in which don’t require daytime weekday commitment – many homeless shelters ask for volunteers in the evenings or at night, for example, and there are many events you can partake in at the weekend.

If there’s nothing exactly to your fancy, you could even try and set up an event yourself. However, the first step in any of these scenarios will be making your diary as regular as possible, in order to get yourself into good habits.

Planning out your week in blocks will also allow you to see exactly how much free time you have and plan the amount of time you want to invest accordingly. Knowing that you have the whole of Friday evening free for certain will allow you to dedicate your time to a regular effort without being overwhelmed with additional duties for the rest of the week.

Or find something which is more flexible

Some organisations are happy for you to do whatever hours are possible, operating on an entirely ad-hoc basis. For these, you will usually have to sign up on a website, or still let them know somehow when you are coming in.

These assignments are often extremely informal, and since they are often attached to someone you know from somewhere else such as work, organising work at short notice is often easier.

However, on the other hand, you might be called to do some work at the last minute. Make sure that you know the limits of what you can handle, or you might find yourself taking on a lot of work at the last minute and experiencing burnout. Although doing last-minute work once in a while is fine, it can help to know when to say “no”.

Help out every once in a while

Alternatively, if you really are short on time, you could look towards annual events. Since these often occur on or around the same date each year, it’s easier to book time out of your schedule in order to attend these events.

These could be sports events such as a charity marathon or something more local such as a bake sale or community fundraising day. If you want a bigger role, you could be involved in the planning of these events.

But if you don’t have enough time, just contributing to the fundraising efforts in whatever way you can could make a real difference, ensuring that those in need receive food to eat, water to drink and somewhere safe and warm to sleep.

If you really have no time on your hands, you can always support local causes through supplying monetary donations, materials, or food – for example, donating to food banks, offering your premises for an event, or sponsoring other people taking part in charity events.