What are some everyday ways that I can do good in the world?
December 5, 2017 4:33 AM   Subscribe

I am a SAHM for the moment. (I will most likely be heading back to work in a year.) For a few days a week, I have some child free spare time while kids are in preschool/school. I'm looking for little things I can do every day to make the world a better place. It can be simple things, like meat free Monday, to helping out at a soup kitchen, or just buying...less. But either way I'd like to incorporate regular ways of being a better citizen into my normal routine, given that working in a Ugandan orphanage isn't feasible for me right now. I have time, marketing skills and have the ability to donate that skill set online too.
posted by Jubey to Human Relations (16 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried Catchafire?
posted by Spiderwoman at 4:44 AM on December 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Hey, I am also a SAHM with some time and this itch to scratch. I'm about to start a regular gig volunteering one shift a week at a women's shelter. In addition to that, there are a lot of small things I'm trying to do in my local community. Basically, when I had this feeling of wanting to "do more," I started to look around and make an effort to notice what mattered to me, the connections I had, what I was doing day-to-day - and then think "could I apply my time/skills/money to help?"

So a few examples: I started doing some admin work for my church (doing their website and newsletter, stuff like that). A friend that's in my "moms' club" is going through a tough medical diagnosis with her daughter so we have traded off bringing her dinners and keeping her company. There is an early childhood program that I've gotten a lot of benefit out of, so I attended a board meeting and asked how I could help (now I hand out their flyers). I organize my church's presence at our local LGBTQ Pride events. I'm trying to talk to my neighbors more and just finished some Christmas gifts to drop off to them. When my friend was in a bike accident I brought her a get well gift.

It's just little stuff like that but I'm trying to forge connections. Hope that sparks off some ideas for you and I'll be watching this thread with interest!
posted by cpatterson at 5:04 AM on December 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

Lots of schools need reading tutors to come in for a half hour or hour each week.
posted by raccoon409 at 5:07 AM on December 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Giving blood is a super cheap and efficient way to do good to the world.
posted by Ifite at 5:09 AM on December 5, 2017

Depending on where you live, there may be a lot of daytime volunteer opportunities. In my town, there's a land trust that buys up land to keep it as open space, and they need lots of volunteer tenders to pull weeds and propagate plants (even in winter). The beach needs litter removal. The activity center for disabled adults is all volunteer-staffed, and they do hikes and bowling and mall-walking. The food bank is volunteer-staffed and runs like a little store (stocking, sorting, selling). I'd start by thinking of what cause is most interesting or moving to you, and then google around in the local area to see if there's an organization that is helping out.
posted by xo at 5:46 AM on December 5, 2017

If you're crafty, you could make small blankets to donate to kids. Or large ones for homeless adults.
posted by bunderful at 5:59 AM on December 5, 2017

"...working in a Ugandan orphanage isn't feasible for me right now..."

If you have the opportunity to work part-time, you could simply do that, then take your earnings and donate it to a Ugandan orphanage or similar, for example through Givedirectly, which does work in Uganda.

In many cases, it's more helpful to work and donate than to volunteer.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:10 AM on December 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

In your situation, I would consider lending my marketing skills to a local political campaign for a candidate whose policies I support. At the local level, a handful of talented volunteers can swing an election.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:17 AM on December 5, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm working (volunteering) with two non-profits right now that are greatly suffering from not have professional marketing advice available to them. Marketing generates interest, donations, and volunteers, all of which would make the rest of our goals so much easier to accomplish. So if you have the skills to donate and you don't think it would burn you out, that would be a great way to help.

But it's great to get your feet wet in things where you can just donate a day or two here or there without a major commitment. Clean-ups, driving for a food bank, sorting donations at a small non-profit, reading to kids... if you're not quite sure what would float your boat you could ask local friends and other parents at school what orgs they are involved with and ask if they need an extra pair of hands with anything at the moment. (Bonus: talking about this topic is a great way to chat with people who you don't know well but want to get to know).
posted by vignettist at 7:09 AM on December 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

How's your relationship with your local public library? Might they need someone who can help promote events?
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:51 AM on December 5, 2017

Yeah, if you're crafty and/or have some spare money: get hats/gloves/scarves together and donate to a local shelter or see if your local library will let you set up a table to give them away.
posted by TwoStride at 8:22 AM on December 5, 2017

Best answer: Yes x10 to people suggesting you help out a charity with your marketing skills. Especially if you have the time to help them with social media, as that is where most charities get their publicity from these days. I offered my help with social media management and photography for a couple struggling nonprofits in my city and it helped them immensely. Charities that fall behind in an online world often end up with few new donors, giving them a leg up is huge.

Also, buying from local businesses(preferably things you'd already buy) and supporting local artists is something that gives you as a single person the power to impact the future of your community. Donating to a huge international charity is great if you can, but after they take their cut and do the work, the actual help that a tiny donation does is... negligible. I'd say most people will get more direct results by distributing your wealth among your local community, both charities and businesses.

For example, buying a painting from a struggling art student could mean the difference between them continuing to produce and them stopping altogether. Buying your groceries from a local co-op or farmer's market regularly means your favourite sellers keep stocking great stuff. You have the power to help your community in these small, even casual, ways.
posted by InkDrinker at 10:28 AM on December 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here's a list!
posted by eyeball at 2:18 PM on December 5, 2017

Pick up trash on the beach/side of the road/the park/etc. Not glamorous, but so, so helpful, and you can even get the kids to help!
posted by zibra at 2:58 PM on December 5, 2017

Ask around with your friends to see if anyone is involved with an organization that would make use of your skills. I was involved a while back with an organization that occasionally needed people to make phone calls, do research, etc. It may take some time to find the right group, but if you do you have the chance to really make an impact.
posted by bunderful at 4:18 PM on December 5, 2017

see how little you can buy to get by, pick up trash, give sandwiches to homeless people, tutor kids.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:44 PM on December 6, 2017

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