Could lonely people be nudged into volunteerism on a large scale, perhaps target people that are likely to be lonely with information about local volunteering opportunities, emphasizing that they needed and that it is a great place to make friends?
Could lonely people be nudged into volunteerism on a large scale?
It is clear that many people are experiencing loneliness and that it is taking its toll on mental and physical health. It is not evident that it is a growing problem, but it is at least getting more attention. For many people, volunteering could be an important remedy for loneliness. It is a great way to meet people, engage in something meaningful and gain recognition. It also creates valuable services! So why are not more lonely people just volunteering? For some it could be very complicated. For others, maybe they could just need to be nudged?
Volunteerism is often a very bottom-up way of engagement, but maybe policy makers could provide a small nudge from the top to get more lonely people to volunteer. Could be possible on a large scale to target single households that belong to a demographic and geography that would be likely to be lonely with a letter informing about the local opportunities to volunteer, emphasizing that their time is needed and that it is a great place to make friends. Perhaps they could even tempt with free sandwiches and coffee or something.
Could this be a low-cost way of getting thousands of lonely people to become less lonely and at the same time they can provide something meaningful in their spare time?