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In Online Communities

How to do good on a budget

Written by Zehra Abbas

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Sometimes we see world events unfold and we want to act, but we feel helpless to enact change. Often we feel the pull to get involved and do some good on a local or global scale, but time, money, distance and busy schedules keep us from achieving these goals.

If you're in that situation, here are a few key things you can do to empower yourself to go out and help — and all it'll cost is a bit of time.

1. Identify the issue and/or community you'd like to focus on

You may be interested in just one specific thing, or you may have multiple issues that matter to you. Write it all down. Then you can further analyze your areas of interest before deciding where you'd like to begin.

2. Make a list of all of your skills

Consider how each one can be used to promote a cause. If you're an amazing writer, perhaps one way to raise awareness could be to write about it. Start a blog, be a guest blogger, write editorials, or launch an online petition. If you rock at social media, possibilities include assisting an organization with advancing their social media strategy, or even taking some time to post on their behalf. Identifying your individual skills will help you discover what kind of initiatives are right for you.

3. Find organizations working on the issues that matter to you

Reach out. Having a conversation with someone at the organization can help you identify what their needs are. They may have gaps you can help fill. This is where knowing the scope of your skills is very helpful. Consider applying to become a volunteer or for a position on the board of directors. You could even assist an organization on the other side of the world as a remote volunteer — so keep those communication lines open.

4. Use social media

Social media has completely changed the landscape of how we interact and communicate with each other. It can be very empowering to join Facebook® groups and engage with others looking to help or raise awareness. If there are events happening nearby that you're passionate about, a retweet or a Facebook post can go a long way to letting people know. Use your social media platforms to direct people to online petitions that matter to you. Social media is a chance for you to communicate with people directly. Letting people know if you're volunteering somewhere is one thing, but being able to show them with pictures or videos on social media can send an even more powerful message.

5. Raise funds or volunteer for organizations, or mobilize your own initiative

There are plenty of easy crowdsourcing avenues and fundraising event ideas to explore online. If you don't have the money to donate to a cause yourself, then volunteer your time. Maybe you'll be good at getting others to contribute with their wallets. Also, the internet is full of ideas on how we can drive positive change in unique ways. Even things like the Ice Bucket Challenge and Movember® started off small.

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