Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Social Charity: How You Can Do More

As a society, I feel like we don't talk much about giving back or helping those in need. It's not a "sensitive" subject, it just tends to be overlooked. There seems to be a subconscious thought that in order to help people, it'd help if you were a mega-star philanthropist or if your life resembles that of Jane Goodall's or Mother Theresa's.

But we don't always have to go to the extremes to look for ways in helping others. When there's a hurricane and you look into the town, you'll see many people needing help. But actually, if you look around, or look in other parts of the world, there are always just as many people that need your help.

Causes range from disaster relief, wildlife conservation, helping third-world countries, cancer research, and many more. Below is a list of ways that you can start taking meaningful action, and doing more.

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1. Do more than just give.
Anyone can swipe a credit card or deliver a cash-filled envelope to a certain address and be done with it. You send off the money, pat yourself on the back for being such a generous modern-day philanthropist in the midst of your work, and get on with your life.

Giving is good. And people need to do more of it in order to establish a better world. I'm not going to start pointing fingers and accusing people of "not doing enough", but if your efforts of social charity only involve giving, maybe it wouldn't hurt to try doing more. Sure, a village could use those tokens from their anonymous sponsors, but sometimes, what NGOs and communities really need is a person that gives a helping hand. Your time and energy can be just as needed as your money and secondhand clothes.

YOU CAN START BY trying something easy, like passing out food, or giving them a smile. Beyond that, you can try engaging with them. Sit among them, start conversations, and get to know the people you're trying to help. These are the conversations that will most likely make a lasting effect on your experience. You can never truly know what someone needs until you sit down and talk with them.

Most of the time, the thing that these people need more than money or things, is change.

2. Care for your cause. 
People would already do a ton of research before donating a significant amount of money to a certain organization. But donations are not, expanding your knowledge on the cause will truly be helpful for your efforts.

Who do they partner with? How much have they accomplished and how much more are they doing now? What kind of impact has been made, and what kind of impact hasn't been?

Finding out everything you can will help you know more about the environment you're stepping into (if you're planning on going out onto the field), or it might just motivate you to let others know about what you're working towards, and invite them into action as well.

3. Get involved
After finding a cause that you're passionate for, don't be afraid to reach out to the groups working within it. Don't just wait to hear a pitch in a shopping mall; go out and look for it on your own! And when you join them, you have to be brave enough to connect to people. Part of being involved means putting yourself out there and doing as much as you can. Don't be afraid to ask them how you can lend a hand, because there's usually always going to be a need in something. 

4. Stay updated with the places you'd visited.
Anyone can make donations or send care packages, but the challenge is to really have a heart for the people in need. One of the ways is by keeping the contact details of the foundation, group, or location you'd visited, and taking note of them so you can stay updated on how they're doing, and whether or not you can offer any more help in the future. If you've been to several spots, make a list. You can directly contact them in your free time, or just keep tabs on their webpage if they have any. It reminds them (and yourself) of how devoted you are to the cause, and how you're keen on assisting them in nurturing their growth.

5. Join social charity events.
Most cities today would already have at least one charity foundation up and running, and there are probably already hundreds of organizations in your country alone. This calls for charity events! Some are pretty straight-forward (like donating blood, going on mission trips, visiting a children's hospital) but some others wrap it in a more entertaining event; like charity runs, fundraising fairs, etc. Keep your eyes open for any that might come near you and take part! You can be a volunteer, or just be there for the occasion to help raise the money. It's the simplest and most efficient way you can help.

(If you live in Surabaya like I do, I'd suggest referring to @exploresurabaya on Instagram, or this website for knowing about any upcoming events in our city!)

6. Plan your own!
If you happen to have your own organization/foundation you're trying to attract more attention to, or a cause where you can help raise awareness, plan your own event! Probably, you will need to already have/be involved in an organization with plenty of experience already, or have reliable partners for the cause/project.

Needless to say, the tools you use for planning said event will be equally as important. Planning an event is a lot of fun, but no easy feat. Eventbrite is a well-known event planning site, and their nonprofit fundraising tools are perfect to use for planning nonprofit events or fundraisers in any form! You can head over to their website where it's not only easy to navigate, but also very clear and informative.

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For personal purposes, I'd also written about one of my own experiences. I did three different small activities in three different places, all within the month of August 2017, but sharing about all three just didn't feel right. However, I wrote about one of those days in a separate page you can only access here. I didn't want to make a blog post and publish it felt a little too oversharing. Visit if you wish to read my short narrative on my experience, and see some photos. I might write about my other experiences someday, but for now, that'll have to do.

As always, I'll write again soon.