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One Step at a Time to Help at Home and Abroad

Help the WorldSometimes, the task of making the world a better place can be overwhelming. On top of our daily schedules and expenses, there are so many causes to devote your time or money to. However, a quest to help the world does not have to involve curing cancer or achieving world peace — it can start with a few simple steps to address issues that matter:

Pick an issue area

The most important step to start improving the world is to find an issue you are passionate about. The more passionate you are about a cause, the more likely you are to enjoy working for it and the more inspiration you will find. The issue could be anything from rhino poaching in South Africa or water safety in Flint, MI to school supplies for children in Brazil.

Remember that there are problems both abroad and in your own backyard. Each cause is important and doing something is more effective than doing nothing.

Raise money

Organizations often need both money and manpower to keep their efforts running. How you want to contribute to a cause is up to you.

But if you are interested in donating or fundraising, there are many different options. Whether donations come from your own savings, running a fundraising campaign or asking family members to donate to a cause in lieu of gifts for a special occasion, the money you give to an organization will be very useful for keeping projects running. Donations do not have to be astronomical to make a difference!

Another way to contribute money is by shopping smart. When you are buying products for yourself or as gifts, try to buy products that give back. To start, you could look at this list from the Huffington Post of gifts that give back. Do research and find products that you love that have an added bonus of giving back.

Online websites also provide ways to give back. If you frequently order from Amazon, the company’s Amazon Smile program donates 0.5 percent of the price of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice.

Volunteer your time

You might also choose to work with a local organization on a regular basis or volunteer for a summer to work across the country or across the world. If you are interested in empowering youth, you could volunteer to tutor or become a mentor. You might also try volunteering to prepare food packages at your local Red Cross Food Bank and sort clothing donations at the Salvation Army.

Technology has opened up endless opportunities to volunteer with people around the world. If you are interested in helping teach English, Pax Populi, an online website sponsored by the U.N., allows volunteers to sign up as conversation partners for students in Afghanistan. This website also has opportunities to apply for translation, editing and research volunteer positions.

Another often overlooked but highly important volunteer position is to advocate for your chosen cause or organization. Efforts such as handing out flyers, making donor calls or contacting government representatives can be crucial in spreading the word.

Asking your Senate or Congressional leaders to support specific legislation is not nearly as intimidating as it may seem. Leaders respond well to requests from their constituents and putting pressure on them can spur change at the state or national level. Check out this page to see how we contact government representatives at the Borgen Project.

Stay connected

Lastly, the most important way you can help the world is to be knowledgeable and active in your community. Try to keep up with news reports and research topics of interest to you.

The world changing every day means the challenges it faces are changing as well. The best way we can help the world is to create a population of caring and active citizens.

Taylor Resteghini

Sources: Amazon Smile, The Borgen Project, The Huffington Post, Pax Populi, UN Online Volunteers
Photo: Voluntariat