Early monring volunteer work
August 29, 2010 5:03 PM   Subscribe

Help me volunteer in the morning.

I would like to make volunteering part of my weekly routine. Do to scheduling conflicts, I only have about 4:30am - 7:45am available on weekdays. I've been looking pretty diligently in my town (I live in the Midwest) to find volunteering opportunities so early in the morning but I am having a very difficult time finding anything so early. Do you know of any opportunities? I'm open to doing just about anything--just want to do something good for the world early in the morning.
posted by gocubbies to Work & Money (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Early morning help at a homeless shelter?
Sweeping up at a public park?
posted by SLC Mom at 5:10 PM on August 29, 2010

See if there are soup kitchens with a morning shift. That's just about an ideal time.
posted by devilsbrigade at 5:13 PM on August 29, 2010

Check out hospitals in your area, especially any large ones. They are open 24-hours per day, and generally can use a lot of volunteers. You will need to pass a criminal history/background check, but if you can do that hospitals may be a good option for you.
posted by wansac at 5:13 PM on August 29, 2010

Hotlines? The Sexual Assault Online Hotline is open 24/7; your local rape crisis center might have a 24-hour phone line. There are also suicide hotlines, domestic violence hotlines, trafficking hotlines.... Your local DV shelter might also need help during those hours.
posted by quadrilaterals at 5:17 PM on August 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

City animal shelters are open 24 hours a day, you could go walk some dogs. It may be the only time they get out of their cage that day. And helping them remained house-broken makes them much more adoptable.
posted by MeiraV at 5:35 PM on August 29, 2010

There is a lot of volunteering that you could do from home. Every non-profit I've ever encountered had more administrative and marketing and back-office stuff to be done than they had hands to do it.

You could update websites, organize and update donor rosters, update volunteer directories, prepare mailers, transcribe meeting minutes, write newsletter copy, research industry news, source donors and corporate partners, send emails to other volunteers, leave voice mail followup calls for donors or volunteers, update volunteer calendars with shifts and projects. And these are just the tasks I can think of off the top of my head, which can tend to bog down a charity; I'm sure specific orgs can add specific needs to the list.

It would require some training, of course. You might need to visit the office of your favorite charity and meet with their operations person or exec. director, and get familiar with how they do things and what needs doing. But if I were a volunteer coordinator or an ED and someone came to me and said, "What I can do for you from home for 3 hours in the early morning, weekly or bi-monthly?," I'd be thrilled with the opportunity to plug them in.

I know that it feels really good to be doing something on location, with hands and physical labor, but your time constraint simply might not make that feasible. And as I'm sure the MeFites who work in the non-profit world can attest... the administrivia stuff is just as important... it keeps the phone lines open for the callers in need, and it keeps the food on the shelves of the soup kitchen, and it keeps the lights on at the animal shelter.
posted by pineapple at 5:56 PM on August 29, 2010

If you know anything about rowing, practice generally runs from 5:30 - 7:30 and most clubs are always looking for coaches. Likewise if you are a fitness person, you could likely volunteer in that capacity early in the morning - managing a running group, etc.
posted by hepta at 6:15 PM on August 29, 2010

Seconding animal shelters- that's when they really need volunteers to clean cages, or generally help with the animals. All the shelters I've looked into have really valued morning availability- along with regular availability.
posted by questionsandanchors at 6:18 PM on August 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding quadrilaterals' suggestion of "Hotlines."  Some of them even have it set up so that you can do the work from home; i.e. from 4:30am - 7:45am one of the Kids' Help lines gets routed to your home phone.  You get to pitch in without leaving the house.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:58 PM on August 29, 2010

You might try seeking out a local shelter for victims of domestic abuse. I volunteered at a shelter keeping roughly those hours. They often need people to help with the kitchen and housekeeping and help do paper work etc.

The one I volunteered at required an incredibly deep background check and a lot of confidentiality (the shelter was "secret" to keep the families inside safe) but if you're okay with that they ALWAYS needed new people.

There is an added bonus that sometimes the non-publicized shelters are in residential areas that might be closer to your home.
posted by Saminal at 1:14 AM on August 30, 2010

Some public schools have early morning childcare. Not 4:30 am early, but before-school early. You could call around and ask if they need help.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:11 AM on August 30, 2010

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