Making an impact when you give.
We often see an inspiring video or post from a friend talking about a great charity we should give to, or maybe we are moved by a presentation we hear. But then our zeal for helping fades away, and we make excuses for why we can’t give—not enough time, not the right time, someone else will do it, etc. But the truth is, we ALL can help, at ANY time. Here are some ways you can make a difference, no matter your circumstances or stage in life.
1. Choose to be Educated and Aware
Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Education comes in many forms, and gives life to everything it touches. Choose to inform yourself about the world that surrounds you: Where do your clothes come from? Is the food you buy sustainably grown? What are the economic/social/environment impacts of your actions? What does true poverty look like? What are sustainable models of charities and NGOs? Information is all around us, and by doing a little digging, you can learn how to make a difference today and every day.
2. Choose to be Kind
Money and time are not the only things necessary to change lives. Cultural awareness as you are traveling is important. Be courteous, be kind, and accept other ways of doing things. There is good we can spread on a very small basis by interacting positively with the people we are around. We just have to think about the way we respond and act towards people and be conscientious about how we interact. Each act of kindness has a ripple effect and adds a little more positivity into the universe. Sopheap, a 17 year old Cambodian orphan, taught this lesson when he volunteered for his own people and stated, “A smile can change a heart.”
3. Choose to Act
forPEACE is a non-profit full of doers. At the end of the day, we have to choose to act. Maybe that means choosing to forego your daily coffee for a month to donate the money instead. Maybe that means choosing to buy from companies and small business that have honest, sustainable practices. Or maybe, that means coming to volunteer with forPEACE on their annual Cambodia House Building Expedition. No matter how small, your choice to ACT is the most important decision you will make if you want to make a difference. Good does not happen by itself, it takes people like you wanting to help and serve to create it. We need people like you to spread the word, donate the funds, build the houses, and help to change lives.
Margret Ellwanger, forPEACE’s Director and Founder often says, “It matters less what the magnitude of your good is, but whether is it right or wrong.” Staying at hotels that train disadvantaged individuals, eating at a restaurant that gives back to their community, donating money or taking the trip of a lifetime to volunteer and serve are all ways you can give meaningfully. No matter where you are, you can start opening your eyes to those who are in need. The magnitude doesn't matter, the direction matters. The amount doesn’t matter, because if everyone does their part, it adds up to the great good we are all searching for.