8 Tips for Doing Good

We are – all of us – trying to leave the world a little better than we found it. But how do we do that exactly?

Making the conscious decision to get involved in social good – whether it be through volunteering or simply performing acts of kindness for others – can be daunting at first. It helps to start small, think positively and be consistent in your actions. Still, making that first step can be tough!

Enter Good Deeds Day, a day when people from around the world come together to volunteer and do other good deeds. Good Deeds Day began in 2017 with 7,000 volunteers and 130 projects. By 2018, it featured a whopping 3.5 million volunteers and 20,000 projects worldwide. That’s over seven MILLION hours of service and a whole lot of opportunities to get involved.

Last year, to celebrate Good Deeds Day, we launched #181GoodDeeds as part of our #betheOne initiative which uses social media as a vehicle to highlight the small and individual ways we can each incorporate social good into our lives. #181GoodDeeds challenged and motivated our teams across Trinidad and Tobago to mark Good Deeds Day by making a difference in the lives of persons in need in their communities. It turned out to be a fun and effective approach to getting to know our communities better and a lightning rod for getting our people involved in social good.

This year, Good Deeds Day is coming up on 7 April and if you’ve been thinking about ways to grow the circle of goodness yourself, I’d say it’s the perfect time to make that first step. Even if you’re doing good individually, it’s the one day of the year when you can be certain that there are millions of people around the world who are doing good too.

If you’re considering volunteering, here are eight tips to get you started:

  1. Find your passion
    You’re more likely to continue volunteering if you find a cause close to your heart. Any hobby can be translated into a volunteering passion. A love of reading may lead you to the Adult Literacy Tutors Association (ALTA). If you love children, maybe you can join The Heroes Foundation. Whatever it is, do what you love.

  2. Determine what you can offer
    Maybe you’re an A-class accountant who can keep books for a local charity. Maybe you’re a people-person, the perfect friendly face for a clothing drive. Making a list of your skills can help you choose the best opportunity to start with.

  3. Consider your availability
    If you commit to fundraising five nights a week, you’re more likely to suffer from burnout and give up. Set a realistic time commitment to make volunteering sustainable.

  4. Research
    Online resources like The Volunteer Centre of Trinidad and Tobago allow you to customise your organisation search. Or you can try searching our #betheOne hashtag on social media for tips on getting involved. You can also talk to your friends and family to get ideas.

  5. Can you make volunteering win-win?
    Imagine an opportunity that helps other people and yourself. Through volunteering, you can hone skills and even get career experience. For example, managing the social media pages of an NGO might be a great way to help them fill a resource need while also being the perfect addition to your CV.

  6. Choose an organisation
    You’ve done the background work! Time to choose a group that is the best fit for you and, most importantly, that will help you make a difference. Consider what’s important to you and come up with a short list of criteria to help with your decision. Transparency, sustainability and volunteer preparation or training are all key factors to consider when choosing an organisation to volunteer with.

  7. Find an accountability partner
    It can be scary joining a new organisation alone. Talk to a friend or relative who can sign up with you. That way, there’ll be a friendly face from Day One and you’re more likely to keep each other motivated.

  8. Take your time
    It may take some trial and error before you find the right organisation or even the right position. If you’ve never volunteered before, you may need to adjust to new responsibilities. Be gentle with yourself; you can’t do good for others when you’re not doing right by you.

  9. Remember Aesop’s Fables? “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” So, however you choose to volunteer, know that your good deeds are helping the circle of goodness grow. And you’re leaving the world a little better than you found it.

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