The only thing better than giving back to your community is doing it anonymously. It’s natural to want credit for your generosity, but if you think volunteering is rewarding in and of itself, wait until you do it without revealing yourself to the recipient. Here’s how to volunteer without anyone knowing it was you.
Let Someone Vent to You
Organizations like 7 Cups of Tea offer online listening services (that’s right, listening) for the many people who don’t feel safe voicing their feelings. You can turn that around for someone. When you become a listener on 7 Cups of Tea, you choose when and how to volunteer—as much or as little as you’d like. The job description? Just listen. This could mean a young mother venting about parenthood, a teenager expressing uncertainty, or a senior conveying recent heartache.
This volunteer opportunity is especially valuable if you have a life experience to share, like overcoming work-related stress, anxiety, or a tough breakup. Sometimes, all a stranger needs is to know they’re not alone.
Be a Secret Pen Pal ‘Angel’
If you just love to send and receive snail mail, this opportunity is right up your alley. The blogger, Fab, at Snail Mail Love has started a yearly tradition wherein readers sign up to send a small package of goodies to a randomly assigned pen pal. The package is full of thoughtful things to charm and encourage the recipient. Each year, however, a few packages simply don’t make it to their destination. Enter “angels,” which allow you to send a package to fill the gap left by disobliging circumstances.
(Extremely) Random Acts of Kindness
Random acts of kindness let you help strangers without being found out, so even if you volunteer with an organization regularly, you can still take a minute to support someone even if his or her life won’t affect yours moving forward. Check out Random Acts of Pizza, the most delicious good deed you’ll ever do, and a forum on Reddit for people to connect with those who need a pie the most. From recent surgery, to all-nighter study sessions, to hungry expecting mothers, people who are in a pinch are desperate for pick-me-ups, and a cheesy meal is often exactly what they need. Order a meal to be delivered to one of these people today, and enjoy the feeling of giving anonymously to a quirky cause.
You could also do administrative work for Random Acts, the actual global nonprofit behind the random acts of kindness we embrace on our own. Work from home in a support role so others can volunteer on-site. Here are more ideas for how, in two minutes or less, you can brighten someone’s day, or even change a life.
Attend a Virtual Baby Shower
At Soldiers Angels, you get to choose a family whose parent is deployed or serves active duty, and is expecting a baby. Send new moms much-needed supplies like onesies, pacifiers, diapers, or natural diaper cream. The recipient can ask for your contact information, but giving yourself up isn’t required.
You may love another person so much that you would “give them a kidney.” You may not qualify for such a big commitment, but it is just as a selfless of an act to donate blood or tissue. After most knee and hip replacements, for example, bone and marrow can result in excesses, and because soft tissue regenerates, you can even donate it again! If you’re expecting a baby, cord blood can be given to help save the life of another patient whose identity you never need to know. Read the inspiring true stories of those who have donated or received a donation in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Imaginative volunteer opportunities are the best, and there’s nothing more creative—or rewarding—than figuring out how to volunteer anonymously. How creative are you when exploring different ways to volunteer? What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done to keep your donation of time, energy, or money a secret? Comment below or share with us on twitter using hashtag #GoodMatters, and tagging us @TomsofMaine.
Image source: Flickr | Bethany Johnson
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.