Making Time To Volunteer


There should exist a cultural norm where each American citizen volunteers one hour of time per week to a cause or person.


  • There are 168 hours in a week. 1/168 is .00595 of a given week’s total time, which can be rounded up to a little more than .5 of a percent.
  • There is an ever-present need for support in the non-profit sector.  


  • There is research showing that the human body, mind and soul is boosted when it helps out its fellow beings. From improved mental health, to increased lifespan, to growth of the muscle controlling empathy, participation in regular volunteer work has virtually no downside in terms of quality of life.
  • At a minimum the world has an opportunity to become incrementally better, as volunteers provide something for nothing.
  • With the enormous increase in the supply of volunteers, more niche programs would be created, granting people a higher chance of finding a great fit between interests and talent.
  • As listed in the Facts section above, the proposal asks for approximately .5% of a person’s weekly time.


  • Time is the most precious thing anyone is blessed with. Everything done in life should be in service of maximizing how time is expended. It doesn’t go overlooked that any request to spend other people’s time should be considered very carefully.
  • The one hour spent volunteering will inevitably expand to some degree to include the commute time, as well as possible additional time outside of the hour where planning or thought takes place. The “one-hour-per-week commitment” will almost certainly require some amount of time more than that.
  • Not every volunteering situation or session is created equal, so there should be an expectation that a situation won’t go smoothly every time. Stressful moments can be experienced that are then carried into other parts of life, and poor moments can drain more energy than any alternative use of the hour.


Volunteering one hour per week is the least any human being can do for another. The world is made better when its inhabitants care for each other, and making a difference costs very little.  

To that end, there are opportunities to volunteer in countless endeavors, so finding the right situation is possible for anyone, given enough diligence.  

Humans are better off as lifelong learners, but there should also be an avenue toward being lifelong teachers. The common aspiration should be to take from the world only so that it can better be given back.

The Challenge:

Use (or choose an option from elsewhere) to locate an opportunity that holds appeal, then commit to it for a minimum of three (3) months before placing any judgment on it. Allow the scope of the experience ample time to reveal both its most rewarding moments as well as its toughest, and then observe how this experiment has impacted everyday mood and thought and proceed forward from there.

We are capable of great things, but we need to work on our aim.

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