“I want to help, but I don’t know what I can do.”
Such a thought crosses your mind when you’re unsure of how you could possibly contribute to social good. You’re not the only one. Tons of socially-conscious people in the world have a desire to help, but aren’t clear on where to start. On top of that, they don’t know what they can offer in the first place.
We all have something to offer. You have skills, connections, interests, or experiences that can add to the positive-sum game of social impact. As you know, social impact thrives on resources and collaboration.
So, what could you possibly contribute? Let’s go through a list of ideas for how you can show up for your social good community.
5 Ideas to Contribute Your Resources to Social Impact
1. Your Social Media Engagement
Educating the masses and spreading awareness is quite a task. It makes it so much easier when people like you engage with social impact content. It signals the algorithms to recommend that content to more people. Speaking of people, you can boost social impact by spreading awareness directly from your social media. Try sharing an initiative’s social media post to help promote the good work going on.
2. Your Recommendations
Something we do in our everyday life is give people referrals. It’s the age-old way we find out about services to use. In this case, you can recommend resources to initiatives. Let’s say you know someone in a field that can help the initiative or maybe you know a company they can contact. Those are invaluable contributions that can level up the momentum of social impact. Try to think back on the people, places, companies, and softwares you’ve come across that might be relevant to an initiative’s purpose and send it on over.
Remember, recommending something doesn’t mean the initiative will definitely use that resource, but it does help with the process of elimination when they need to find collaborators.
3. Your In-Kind Donations
Sometimes social impact needs a helping hand like an in-kind donation. Below is the definition of an in-kind donation shared by GiveSmart:
“An in-kind donation is a non-cash gift made to a nonprofit organization. These contributions can be made in the form of time, services, expertise, and goods, often coming from large businesses but also can come from individuals.”
You may have time, services, expertise, and goods you can offer a social impact initiative. Before you talk yourself out of it:
No, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture.
No, the offer doesn’t have to be a long term commitment if you don’t want that.
Yes, what you offer can come in more than one form (mix things up if you want).
4. Your Presence
Yes. Very important and slightly underrated, showing up and being present for social impact initiatives is a contribution. You don’t need to do anything spectacular to show up.
Fellow social entrepreneurs may not always know how many people support the initiative. Seeing people like you show up to support alongside advocacy encourages the ones doing the work. It also provides proof that people are indeed paying attention and are willing to participate in some way.
5. Your Previous Work
This one is specifically if you’ve started your social entrepreneurship journey, or have completed a social impact project previously.
For offering “your previous work”, this is more so like sharing your insights, assets, or connections. For example, imagine you did a project involving unemployment. You can share the statistics from your work with similar initiatives who may find the data useful. In another example, imagine you were the lead of a mentorship program for international students. You can make professional introductions if an initiative asks you for recommendations on experts in a certain field.
Your past work gives you a lot of options for how you can help social impact, but it also creates a network of socially-conscious advocates that proactively share resources.
The Ultimate Hack to Find What Helps: Talk to People
The ultimate hack to finding out ways to help is to simply talk to people. You want to have conversations, ask questions, and exchange ideas with people who are doing the work.
If someone knows more than you, they help point you in a few directions you could explore. If you find someone who knows just as much as you, the ideas and questions you come up with together will have more depth and more curiosity. If you’re the one who knows more, you get to pay-it-forward and lend your knowledge… but you also get inspired by the questions people ask you.
Find people or organizations to speak with so you get better insight on what’s needed. You may have what they’re looking for.
You Have Something to Offer
We all have a part to contribute in social impact. What we offer comes in all sizes, forms, and levels of commitment. The most important part is that we try to do something that resonates with the positive impact an initiative is aiming to make.
The ideas listed above give you a great place to start. Now the only question is: Who do you want to help today?