Ready to start having an impact on the world in a significant way? If you’re ready to participate in practical solutions to poverty, human rights issues, and economic disparities instead of just “throwing money” at problems, here are six of the best ways you can make a difference.
Microloans are an easy way to crowdsource help to countries and needy families around the world. These small loans, many for only a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, are built up over time by participating online lenders.
You can join a program like Kiva or one of the other options, take part, and help fund entrepreneurs in developing nations around the world. Not only does this encourage local business, improve the economy, and provide financial assistance to those who need, but it can also start a self-propelling cycle.
Loan interest rates and payments apply, so you can put money back into the system when you receive payments.
2. Donating to relief and aid organizations
Instead of sponsoring or donating to the first nonprofit that comes along, think carefully about what sort of relief agency you should support. Sometimes more good can be done by handing donations over to professionals and responsible organizations than by trying to tackle a single problem on your own.
Child labour, for example, will not be solved by sponsoring a single child. It will be solved by the combined efforts of many governments and organizations. Think carefully about which you would rather support, even if you won’t see the results in the near future. The Internet makes it easy to investigate and support agencies on the far side of the globe, such as Unicef New Zealand.
3. Buying wisely
Trade systems around the world have worked to create more sustainable flows of goods and services that allow developing nations to benefit from international markets. You can support these processes by buying products that were made in developing countries.
This will send a significant amount of the profit from sales back to those nations. This is why labels like Fairtrade exist: to let you know that the money will go to the real producers instead of disappearing into a giant corporation. Alter your buying practices to make a difference.
4. Donating resources
If you like the idea of a one-time donation to a single family or region, then try to make your gift a resource that the family can use to help improve its overall standard of living. Some organizations, for example, allow you to give animals to families so they more easily support themselves.
If you prefer a monetary gift, then focus on educators who are able to give locals the skills they need to survive and eventually thrive.
5. Support infrastructure work
Much like donations of resources, supporting the infrastructure in needy regions has a long-lasting impact and seeks to solve key problems at the root rather than treating the symptoms. Many types of infrastructure projects are worth supporting or investing in: Think about the difference that a more efficient well could make in an arid environment, or how much business telecommunication lines could bring to more populated areas.
Even something as simple as a better road can transform and improve the way that villages work.
6. Raise awareness
For the biggest issues, from wars and multiple rapes to long-term poverty and corruption, it may not seem like there’s much you can do personally. However, there is one important step you can take that will make a difference across the world: You can help raise awareness.
This is especially true if you have any sort of web development or graphic design skills. Nonprofits often want to have attractive, smooth-running websites, the latest tools, and strong social media campaigns, but they struggle to marshal the expertise and experience that private businesses can hire.
Volunteering your design or media experience can make a huge difference for years to come.