SEATTLE, Washington — In a world full of information, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. People hear a lot of bad news, which can often lead to a feeling of helplessness. Here are 10 ways to help the poor that can easily be applied to daily routines.
10 Ways to Help the Poor
- Contact local representatives. Contacting representatives is one way to help the poor that anyone can do from almost any place at any time. Be it through email or phone, it is one of the most accessible ways to ensure representatives are supporting things that matter to constituents. To find out who the local representatives are, look it up on the United States House of Representatives website. There are many issues worthy of contacting them about. The Borgen Project website has a list of issues and even ways to contact the representatives on the site in about 30 seconds. Each call or email lets the representatives know what issues matter to the people. By contacting representatives, people are directly giving visibility to issues that matter.
- Donate to trustworthy non-governmental organizations (NGOs). When donating, it is vital to keep in mind that every amount counts to make a difference. By donating, people are giving NGOs the resources to continue operating. People can donate money, clothes, food, toys or even time. It all depends on the NGO they are supporting. However, it is essential to keep in mind that not everything found online is trustworthy. Before donating, do some research on the NGO. What are some of its achievements? What exactly does it do?
- Raise awareness. Inform family, friends, co-workers and others about what is going on and why it matters. Use numbers and reliable data. Mobilizing others is one of the best things a person can do because then more people start looking into ways to help the poor. Every contribution makes an even more significant difference as it participates in a chain of events. Sharing information on social media is an efficient way to do this because it is easy to link research and sources to share with a large number of people at once.
- Hold Fundraisers. Conducting a fundraiser may sound daunting, but it is an easy and often fun way to get several people to donate. People can think of things they already enjoy doing, and how they can monetize them. Maybe someone is good at baking, drawing or taking pictures. What can they give people that would make them interested in giving money? Most people care and want to do what they can to help. Fundraising gives people an easy and accessible way to do so while also potentially receiving something they enjoy. It’s a win-win situation.
- Support brands that have people in mind. Look for brands that donate to important causes and NGOs. Be it by supporting health research, planting trees, supporting education in developing countries or anything else, there are a lot of brands that care about giving back. Every time someone spends money, it is a vote toward the kind of world they want. Some examples of brands that give back are SandCloud, DreamyMoons, Toms and IvoryElla.
- Do Research. Be aware of what is happening in the world. Know who needs help and how to help them. The first step to creating change is being informed. Then, look into NGOs that are doing things to help the cause, talk about it and look into the information that is not as well-known. Make sure to use reliable sources, which may require additional digging. Try not to base information on websites such as Facebook or Instagram. Even though social media is an incredible tool when it comes to raising awareness, it is also a fertile conduit for misinformation, which can be harmful to a good cause by making people think things that aren’t true and delaying help. Read reliable and varied news sources to give you different sides of the story. Doing so helps build a complete narrative and helps people know what to look for when taking action.
- Volunteer. People can look into NGOs around where they live and can volunteer. A handy NGO that matches people with volunteer opportunities in their area is VolunteerMatch. With so many research tools available, it is likely to find a way and some free time here and there to help out. Whether by cleaning up, volunteering at a kitchen, sorting out donations or many other things, hands are always needed. Volunteering is a way to immediately see the effects of one’s actions and a fraction of the positive impact being made.
- Divert money from unnecessary purchases. People can be mindful of what they are spending and where that money is going. Most people spend more on clothes than they want to. They often buy things they don’t need. That 10 dollars that could go toward a shirt that may only be worn for a couple of months and then discarded or it might be more useful as a donation to help poverty.
- Know where your purchases come from and who made them. When buying something, always ask: Who made this? Were they treated fairly? In today’s world, so many things are instantly available that it can be hard to remain mindful when thinking where they originated. So before supporting a specific company, try to do some background research into the company’s ethical practices to know that purchase is not promoting something unethical. A lot of workers are not paid fairly, especially in developing countries and in the fashion industry. The app Good on You is a useful tool for quickly checking if a brand also cares about the same things.
- Use your voice. The last tip in these 10 ways to help the poor boils down to this. Never forget that every voice matters. To create change, one must use their voice. It is easy to feel like it’s insignificant, but if people use their voices to help the poor and those in less fortunate situations, people will continue to create change.
There are many ways to help the poor with just a little research. Know that all around the world, regardless of economic status, people always hold power to use their voices and help those who need it. These 10 ways to help the poor are just a few methods of doing so.
– Johanna Leo