“How can I help?”
It’s a question we’re used to hearing when a friend is upset,
after a national disaster,
and when your sister is moving.
JK –– no one offers to help anyone else move –– they get recruited.
Helping out is something we get taught from a young age (thank Barney and his “clean up song” propaganda… ), so it naturally follows that when we as adults, young and old, are faced with adversity and distress, out reaction is, just that:
“How can I help?”
Only, the problem is that sometimes, even with the best of intentions, sometimes our question is met with confusion, misinformation, or the worst… silence.
Luckily, the internet offers the resources to overcome this barrier.
But, where to start?
Turns out, I'm something of a pack rat when it comes to bookmarks.
Without realizing it, over time I’ve amassed and revisited such sites dozens of times, so that they have become my favorites to surf to, especially in times of “what can I do?”.
An exhaustive list of my bookmarks would take a while to compile, although if you’d like me to, I will.
For now, I’ll throw a few of my top picks at you and let you loose your own adventure.
Ok, I must admit my bias here: I love this site. And even if you land on it and say to yourself, “Wait, this is all for young people.” –– I’d ask you to look a little deeper.
DoSomething, at its core, focuses on the exact problem I mentioned above.
We all want to help in some way, we all want to do something, but frankly, sometimes we just don’t know how.
When you get to the site, you can choose your cause (education, environment, health, etc.), your availability (from 1 to 5+ hours), and your preferred method of action (donation, face to face, start something, etc.), and DoSomething spits out options right then and there.
The only question that remains is, which one will you pick?
Idealist’s mission is to connect idealists with opportunities for action.
What does that mean, exactly?
It means that the site lists events, jobs, internships, volunteer opportunities, and organizations to get involved with around the world.
You aren’t limited by your location, as you can find ways to take action both nearby and remotely.
I wish words could express how glad I am that someone started this site.
Shareable is, “a nonprofit media outlet and action network that empowers people to share for a more resilient, equitable, and joyful world.”
Are you in love yet?
My favorite thing about the Shareable site is their How-to section, which has dozens of ways you can create amazing stuff, from sharing ebooks to creating a pop-up coworking space to starting a free school.
Honestly, I wish I could spend all day taking courses on Plus Acumen.
Acumen aims to “provid[e] thousands of emerging leaders around the world with the skills and moral imagination they need to become more effective at changing the way the world tackles poverty.”
They have tons of courses, some of which are F to the R, E squared, FREE to take.
Right now I’m enrolled in their Human-Centered Design course with their partner, IDEO.org –– another site that should make your list.
Ready to join the global learning community for social changemakers?
BONUS SITE –– Change.org
You know how in the olden days, people used to go out with clipboards and collect signatures door to door?
(Calm down, slightly older folks. I know people did this not too long ago, but just let me make a point here.)
Change.org makes it much easier to do so.
Start a petition to make sure not only your voice, but the ones of those around you are heard as well.
Before you scamper away across the interwebs, one word of caution:
Don’t let the ease of accessing all this killer info trick you into thinking you’ve actually made anything happen by clicking “log in with Facebook.”
BACK UP, and remember:
You have to take action.
All of the sites listed above are a great first step. But the action that comes along with them is key.
There are slacktivists and there are activists.
One of them makes a profile and one of them makes waves.
Which one will you be?
If you liked this post, you might like Think Big, Start Small
Let's change the world.
Who wrote this?
Gina Edwards, Impact Explorer founder and lover of all pun jokes, making a positive change in the world, Stephen Colbert, Jif Peanut Butter, and staying inside on rainy days. Order may vary.