You know you are meant for something bigger. You know that with your passion, empathy, and talents you can make a difference in the world around you. But where do you start? How do you identify what you should be focusing your energy on?
I have often heard people say that they just don’t have the time to give back, and I can relate. With busy day jobs and general over-scheduling of our lives, we often struggle with figuring out what we should be giving back to, let alone how to make the time to actually do it. Whether you want to volunteer your time, or launch your own business that will start changing lives, there are a few steps to guide you through pinpointing your passions and making the most of the gifts you were given.
You can care about more than one thing.
Have you ever posted about a cause you care about on Twitter or Instagram, only to be met with comments that admonish you for not caring about another worthy cause? Dealing with trolls aside, it’s important to remember that you can care about more than one cause at a time. You don’t need to box yourself in. Just because you’re giving your time or money to one thing right now doesn’t diminish another cause that occupies equal space in your heart.
Narrow down (or simply start) your list.
When you care deeply about something, you are moved to find ways to help, but it isn’t always easy to know what that looks like. If you already know of a charity, non-profit, or community group that is making waves in the area you want to be involved in, you are well on your way! But if you don’t, start by asking around and doing some research – what charities are your friends involved with? Why did they choose that charity over another? By asking for guidance from people you trust and respect, you can start to narrow down where you should be focusing your energy.
Go deeper by searching online for the cause you want to be involved in to find related non-profits. Usually there is a charity for almost any cause. If you can’t find the exact one you’re looking for, maybe you can be the person to start the first one.
You’ve made your decision – now what?
I knew I wanted to give back to an organization that supported women suffering from the painful and isolating condition known as obstetric fistula. I researched all of the different charities, both Canadian (I’m a Canuck) and international. After choosing the particular charity I wanted to be involved with, my next step was figuring out how I would help.
Donating monthly is a fantastic option if you’re strapped for time. It’s an easy way to keep giving back all year without a huge commitment. But, you can also get involved using your specific creative talents. If you chose a local charity, reach out to them to ask if you can donate your time to assist with their social media efforts. Perhaps you can use your graphic design skills to spruce up their Facebook banners, or maybe you can use your coding knowledge to do a complete overhaul of their website.
Honestly, the options are almost endless. All you have to do is make the first move. Trust me when I say that they are probably strapped for time too, and will be so happy and grateful that you reached out.
Just start that business.
I get it – it is way easier said than done to launch a business that gives back. I am not suggesting you get up and quit your day job right now, just that you make moves to get started on it.
This can happen any number of ways. If you’re crafty, maybe you want to launch your own shop on Etsy and give a portion from every sale to the cause of your choice. Perhaps you want to start a PR firm that only works with charities and non-profits. Or, you could partner with some like-minded pals and start your own do-good business (The Giving Keys is one of my favorite examples). While there are so many details that go into creating a company, focus on beginning with small steps like writing your mission statement, or brainstorming your product or service.
What I’m saying is: it is possible. No matter how you decide to give back, no matter what your contribution ends up looking like, this world is built by those who dream big. And you, girl, are no exception.
Photos by: Eun Creative