It’s a common misconception that introverts don’t like people. But in fact according to Psychology Today1, introverts can be very warm and interested in others—and even enjoy being with people. It’s just that they are also generally more comfortable being in small groups or even on their own because they like having time to themselves and don’t need or necessarily enjoy being the center of attention.
That’s why it can sometimes be difficult for introverts to participate in volunteer activities. For example, you may love the idea of participating in a Foresters playground build that benefits children and their families in your community, but if you’re introverted, the thought of being involved in a large group activity may just not be up your ally. And that’s okay, because there are so many other wonderful ways you can reach out and give back that are in your comfort zone.
If you want to volunteer but would prefer to do it mostly on your own and without a lot of fanfare, here are some wonderful ways you can make a difference:
- Donate online. If you have a few extra dollars, you can donate to many reputable charities online from the comfort of your home computer
- Donate your talents. If you’re a graphic designer, writer, photographer, or accountant, or have other skills that a favorite charity may need, you can donate your time by taking on small projects like editing, bookkeeping or logo design. Check with the charity of your choice to see if any of the skills you have are ones they require. Small, local charities are often in need of this kind of help
- Provide organizational support. A busy local charity may simply not have enough people available to do routine chores like filing, envelope stuffing, and other clerical tasks that don’t require direct contact with the public. If you can spare a few hours a week to help out in a small office, they may welcome your presence
- Put together blessing bags to donate to a shelter. Blessing bags are small kits filled with non-perishable food as well as comfort and hygiene items for those in need. You can collect items and make up bags to drop off at local homeless shelters and women’s shelters
- Make and donate chemo caps or infant loss items to a hospital. Most hospitals are happy to accept chemo caps for their cancer centers, and infant loss items for perinatal bereavement programs. Check with your local hospital to find out if they are accepting items and what their guidelines are. Visit Hats Off to Liz for pattern links and ideas
- Make chemo care kits and donate to a hospital. Along with chemo caps, cancer patients can benefit from special care kits filled with items to make them feel comforted. Check with your local hospital to see if they are able to accept kits like these. If you get the green light, visit Cancer Care Parcel for tips on what you should and should not include in your chemotherapy care packages
- Make and donate lapghans, wheelchair blankets or wheelchair totes to a nursing home. Seniors in nursing homes can always benefit from a little extra TLC. If you’re crafty, consider making and donating comfort items2 like wheelchair and walker bags, lapghans, or polar fleece wheelchair blankets
- Pick up trash while you’re out for a walk. Take a small trash bag and a pair of gardening gloves with you and pick up trash while you’re on a walk through your neighborhood. Keeping your community clean is a wonderful way to give back
- Become a pen pal to a senior. Unfortunately, there are seniors in nursing homes who never get any visitors and have to rely on staff as their only company and connection to the outside world. Becoming a pen pal and sending letters, cards, and even small gifts to a lonely senior is sweet and so rewarding. Check with local nursing homes to find out if you can be matched with a senior
- Walk dogs for a shelter. If you want some extra fresh air and canine company, shelters love volunteers who will take dogs for walks. Call your local shelter or Humane Society to find out if they are in need of volunteers
- Guerilla gardening. You’ll probably need or want a few friends to help out with this, but if you tackle a small enough area, all you’ll need are just a few extra hands. Guerilla gardening refers to planting gardens in neglected public areas. Generally it’s done without getting permission from the city, town or property owner, but we definitely recommend asking first. You might also ask to spruce up private yards too.
There are many different kinds of personalities in the world, and each one comes with its own unique gifts. Whether you’re a life-of-the-party kind of person, or the type who would rather sit quietly in the corner observing, there are always opportunities to reach out and give back to the community around you in a way that’s comfortable for you.
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