5 Ways You Can Change the World (Without Being Rich)

Source: iStock

Volunteer | Source: iStock

It would be pretty awesome to wake up one day and magically become a superhero with powers that could help save the world, wouldn’t it? It’s easy to fight against violence if you have giant muscles and you can fly; these skills also help you climb impressive trees to rescue adorable kittens. Amazingly, you can change the world even without superpowers by volunteering in other countries or supporting a good cause.

Simply helping out people in your immediate community can help, and actually, by helping people nearby you may potentially pass the kindness on and effectively change the world. Plus, if helping make a difference isn’t a good enough reason for you, volunteering or helping others might also help increase your social skills, which can help you land a job. There are so many great ways to make a difference, and thankfully, many of them happen to be free or cheap.

1. Donate

If you would like to support charities or causes you care about, or you simply are too busy to volunteer right now, then donating can be a great way to make a difference. There are so many charities that it can be difficult to determine which charity to donate to. If you don’t have a specific category or individual charity in mind, then you can check out Charity Navigator’s Hot Topics: International Woman’s Day is next week and donating to a charity could be a great way to honor a special woman in your life. Different charities serve specific populations, so you can choose to help a local charity, or you can donate to a charity that works in a specific country or several different countries.

2. Volunteer

Volunteering is another great way to change the world, and you often can volunteer for free. Like making a monetary donation, there are many different types of charities or organizations where you can volunteer. Try to determine somewhere that you feel passionate about. You can also consider volunteering with friends, family, or co-workers. Although volunteering locally is probably the easiest, you should also consider “voluntourism.” Projects Abroad is just one of many organizations that sends volunteers all over the world to make a difference. Some of the project ideas include helping orphans, teaching, conservation and the environment, archeology, building, and sports.

3. Use your talents

Pro bono work can allow you to use your skills and talents to help other people with services that they actually need. Pro bono needn’t be only for lawyers; any professional who has skills can use them to help other people. Start by thinking about your professional training: if you’re an electrician, a pediatrician, a teacher, an architect, or you have any other job that requires specific training, then you can teach what you know to others.

You can provide your services to people who couldn’t afford them otherwise. You also might be able to share what you love; if you’re an artist, offer a free class and spread knowledge and art appreciation. If you’re a photographer, offer your services for free or a reduced fee to people or organizations who are helping others. Whatever your training or talents, someone can use them.

4. Pay it forward

Pay it Forward is more than just a movie with Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey (it’s an actual organization); it’s also practically an entire movement. However, it should be more than a fad; the idea of doing something nice for someone else to pay forward what someone else did for you is a positive and easy way to change the world. If every single person paid it forward, we would see a lot more people walking around with smiles on their faces.

You can also participate in Pay it Forward Day on April 28 and help spread kindness around the world (in 2015 people from 75 countries participated.) If you really want to pay it forward, consider actively doing something kind every single day.

5. Speak up

Speak up for the things that matter to you, and stand up for people who need help or can’t stand up for themselves. There are many ways to give voice to important issues; you can talk to local politicians, write to elected officials, and organize rallies. If you know of a particular group that is being marginalized, or you are part of such a group, speak up: use positive media to your advantage to gain attention, and make sure people listen to you. You can advocate for pretty much anyone or anything.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, members of Congress will be more likely to take action on homelessness if they hear from constituents; the alliance offers specific tools that advocates can use. Tools can be utilized or created for whatever or whomever you want to advocate for.

Changing the world doesn’t have to involve donating millions of dollars to a charity, or wearing a fancy red, yellow, and blue suit with a big capital S on it. If you invest time and energy, you can help the person next door, the person across town, and maybe, someone across the world.

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