Each year on the fourth Saturday in October, people all around the world celebrate Make a Difference Day and how you can make a positive change in the world or someone’s life. From helping your grandparents do the shopping to volunteering your time to a local charity, there are many ways to lend a hand.
This year on Make a Difference Day, we’ve put together some ways in which you can make a difference, both big and small.
Small gestures that cost next to nothing
Many people often think to make a difference they need to spend a lot of money or time with a particular charity. Luckily, this isn’t true at all! There are many small things you can do each day to make a difference in someone’s days. Some of these things include:
- Acknowledge yourself – First off – you need to check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling and if you’re in a good place. You can’t expect to make a difference to others if your head’s all over the place! If you’re feeling a bit off, check in with what you need and treat yourself to some self-care before moving on to make a difference to others.
- Call a friend or loved one – Over the past couple of years, it’s fair to assume nearly everyone has gone through a tough time at some stage or another. Instead of sending a text, pick up the phone and give a family member or friend a good old fashioned phone call to check in and have a chat.
- Send someone flowers or sweets – Another way to let someone know you’re thinking of them is to send them some flowers or sweets in the mail. If you don’t have the spare change, send a letter via snail mail – it’ll come as a nice surprise to the bills they’re probably used to!
- Stop and help someone – If you see someone struggling with something, offer to help. Whether it’s helping an elderly person cross the road or carrying the shopping of a mother juggling a pram if you’re able to help it won’t take long.
- Say thank you – When was the last time you went out of your way to say thank you to someone? Whether it’s a colleague for helping you with a presentation or a family member for cooking dinner for you, take the time to thank someone and make sure they know they’re appreciated.
- Send recommendations – Heard a good podcast or watched a good movie lately? Why not pass it on to someone else you think would enjoy it! Maybe when they’re bingeing a new Netflix show they think you’ll like they’ll return the favour.
- Treat a roommate or partner – Sometimes it’s nice to be surprised – especially after a hard day. Treating your roommate or partner to a homecooked meal, spa day, or board game night can lift their spirits and make you feel better too!
- Smile – As the saying goes – it costs nothing to smile! Smiling at people can not only boost your mood, but it’s also a great stress reliever. Next time you pass someone on the street, instead of averting your gaze, try smiling at them.
- Pick up rubbish – If you’re out for a walk and see a piece of rubbish on the ground, instead of stepping over it pick it up and put it in the bin or hold onto it until you can find a bin. The United Nations Environment Program says, “every piece of trash that is taken away to be recycled or deposited in a landfill means there is one less dangerous item for birds, turtles or whales to swallow.”
Larger gestures to go the extra mile
For those who are willing to go the extra mile and might have some extra time and money on their hands, there are a few other things you can do to make a difference. These include:
- Volunteer for charity – Whether it’s heading down to the local soup kitchen, cleaning out cages at an animal shelter or helping at your closest aged care home, volunteering your time can provide some relief for organisations who need extra hands-on deck. For volunteering opportunities in Victoria, head to the Volunteering Victoria
- Sponsor a child – Many organisations allow you to sponsor a child from another country, as well as have contact with them through letters. Organisations like World Vision and The Smith Family will allocate you a disadvantaged child for a recurring donation. There are also apps like Share the Meal where you can choose a monthly fee to pay. From there, you get matched with a family from a different company each month and receive updates as to what they’ve purchased.
- Adopt a fur friend – This option is for those who are happy to commit to a long-term option. Every year, thousands of animals are cared for by the RSPCA and need to find their forever homes. Instead of going to a breeder for your next fur friend, consider checking out local animal shelters around you to help give an animal a better life.
- Donate your clothes – Consider this a sign to clean out the wardrobe you’ve been putting off! Not only will it feel great to cull some clutter, but you can donate any old clothes (provided they’re in good condition of course) to a charity that will help someone in need.
- Support local – Small businesses have been smashed by the pandemic, with many having to shut their doors. Before purchasing from a big retailer, ask yourself whether the item is something you can get from a local business. If you need to shop larger, you can still show your support by jumping on social media and giving a small business a like or share.
- Donate blood – Donating blood helps to give support and even life to those in need. Signing up to become a regular blood or plasma donor can help to save lives – is there a better feeling?! You can see whether you’re eligible and find more information via the Lifeblood
- Become an organ donor – Another thing you can do is sign up to be an organ donor, meaning your organs will be donated when you pass away to someone who may need them. Although some people may be hesitant if you’re happy to it could save someone’s life.
- Send a care package – Putting together a care package for someone in need is always a good way to make a difference. Whether it’s making a pack full of your best friend’s favourite things or for a charity such as Share the Dignity, care packs are a great way to make someone’s day.
Changing your lifestyle to make a difference
Throughout your everyday life, there are changes you can make to help make a difference to the world and environment. These include:
- Learn to recycle – While some of us may think we’re recycling correctly, there is more we could be doing to help the environment. Visy has put together a list of some tips on how to make the most out of your recycling. There are other companies out there like Banish which offer a solution for hard to recycle items.
- Sustainable investing – If you’re into stocks and the share market, choosing to invest your money in only sustainable and ethical companies is one way you can do your bit to make a difference.
- Eat what you have – To try and combat food wastage, eat only what you have in your fridge and pantry before buying more food. Many of us keep buying food that we’re not eating and eventually throwing out months or even years later after it’s expired. How many of us are guilty of having something old in the fridge?!
- Buy only what you need – Like the food example above, try to reduce your consumption and buy only what you need. You probably don’t need another party dress for this weekend, and if you do, see the point above about shopping local!
- Keep Cups – Investing in a Keep Cup or reusable coffee cup will help reduce your use of disposable coffee cups, therefore, reducing your waste. Most cafes will take your reusable cup to be more environmentally friendly.
- Swap out your dog’s poo bags – Something simple you can do for the environment is to swap out your dog’s plastic poo bags for a biodegradable option. Some pet stores such as The Bow Wow Store have these available for customers to purchase.
There are so many ways to make a difference, both big and small. While this list covers some ways you can put a smile on someone’s face or make an impact, the possibilities are endless! We’d love to help make a difference in your business, so please reach out to our team if there’s anything we can assist with.