Part 2: Branch out
After ensuring that you, your family and pets are well taken care of, as we talked about in I want to make the world a better place, but I am broke Part 1, it is time to branch out. You don’t have to go far, and you still don’t have to be rich.
All you need is some passion, courage and a strong will to make a difference. Here is how you branch out:
Vote with your money
On Counting Coins we are always exploring the considerations you have to take into account before purchasing something. If you are passionate about a specific philanthropic cause, you should add this to your list of considerations.
If you know that a certain business or brand openly discriminates against a certain group of people, don’t take care of their employees, exploit communities or don’t do anything about their environmental footprint, then don’t support them.
Find out which companies openly support causes that you care about and try to buy from them instead.
Put your ‘like’ where your mouth is
Liking or sharing an image of a starving child on Facebook does not buy that child a healthy meal. There is, however, a place in this high-tech world for social activism. And it will cost you, well, nothing.
Liking a Facebook page that supports a good cause, or endorsing a comment or tweet about a topic you care about, can actually make a difference. Not only does it show your friends and family what causes you care about, but someone who needs a little bit of hope might just see it.
If organisations approach corporations in the hope of securing financial support, it always helps if the corporate companies can see that there are loads of people out there supporting the cause.
Social media can be an effective, yet free way for you to put your support behind an organisation or cause that you care about.
Go beyond your own family
Small acts of kindness can make a world of difference. And chances are, you don’t have to look very far to find someone who is in desperate need of kindness. Take a closer look at your employees, your friends, neighbours, the kids in your child’s class, the waiter in your favourite restaurant, and the beggar you pass on your way to work every day.
Is there anyone in your life who can do with some help, support and love? Why not start there? A growing population, urbanisation, and an increase in crime and property prices have caused a phenomenon where more and more South Africans are moving into complexes with apartments and townhouses stacked on top of one another.
But why does it seem that the closer we live to one another, the further we move apart? When last did you greet your neighbour? Are you simply ignoring the domestic violence across the road or the family who is clearly struggling to feed their kids?
Part 3: Donate and volunteer
Doing charity at home and branching out to your direct community might seem easy, but in many ways it is more difficult than donating and volunteering at charity organisations. The value should, however, not be underestimated, and it also helps to know that you can be a superhero even if you are broke.
You are now ready to step up and take the good fight to the next level.
If you are still broke by the time you reach this stage, volunteering might be the best option. Search for charity organisations that you care about and ask them if they need volunteers to help out.
It is always best to know beforehand what special skills you have to offer any specific organisation. Can you cook, design websites, teach any subjects or skills, paint posters or do gardening? There will be a cause or organisation you care about that needs someone with your set of skills.
Also, don’t forget that you can give what you don’t need any more to people and organisations that will benefit from it.
Finally, in the capitalistic society we find ourselves in, money does make the world go round. This does not have to be a bad thing, as long as we all start pushing funding to the good guys instead of the bad.
You can donate a portion of your income or organise fundraisers; even the smallest contribution can make a huge difference. Remember, the ocean might seem immense, but what is it, but a multitude of drops?
“A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching.” – Swami Sivananda