Looking for a Philanthropic Passion? Learn How to Give Back by Following This Guide. If you'd like to volunteer more or even become an activist, these tips can guide you to the causes that mean the most to you.
The following excerpt is from Jessica Abo's book Unfiltered: How to Be as Happy as You Look on Social Media. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound
If you're trying to figure out what you're passionate about and how you can do something to help others, let me offer some tips that will help.
The fact is, everyone has the ability to change lives and save lives. The first thing I want you to do is think about what makes you happy. Is it painting? Cooking? Playing sports? We often get so busy with our to-do lists that we forget what brings us joy. So take some time to think about what makes you feel alive and jot it down:
When I am at my happiest, I am spending time _______________________________________________________________________________________
If someone told you that tomorrow that you have the day off and all your responsibilities are covered, how would you fill your free day? If you know what you'd do to fill your time, organize those thoughts now. Please leave out errands and obligatory events. This day is for you!
My Free Day Rundown:
If the thought of having a whole day to yourself is too overwhelming, take it section by section as I have broken it down here:
What Do You Do Upon Waking Up?
Do you meditate? Work out? Pray? Read the newspaper? Watch TV? Pick up your phone and scroll through your social media feeds? Play with your pet? Your kids? Take a long shower?
What's Next for Your Morning?
Do you work on that screenplay you've talked about writing? Reorganize your home? Spend time outside?
What's for Lunch?
Do you make lunch at home? Order in? Splurge on a fancy meal or choose a casual spot? Are you eating lunch inside or outside? Do you skip lunch? If yes, why?
What's After Lunch?
Do you nap? Go for a walk? Make some calls? Read a book? Go shopping? Clean up your home? Cook dinner? Volunteer? Play a sport? Go for a spa treatment? Spend time in nature? Make something crafty?
What's for Dinner?
Do you make dinner at home? Order in? Eat leftovers? Splurge on a fancy meal or choose a casual spot? Are you eating dinner inside or outside?
What's After Dinner?
A long bath? A nice stroll? TV or movie? Journal?
What Do You Do Before Bed?
Reading? Meditating? Catching up on letter writing?
Now look at your list. Is there something you love to do that you can start incorporating into your daily or weekly routine? If so, what is it? Did mapping out a free day make you realize you really miss doing an activity you used to love? What do you need to do to bring back that old activity? Who can support you with this?
Talking to people connected to your interests and educating yourself on where there may be an opportunity for you to get involved is key. Maybe that person is willing to be your mentor or accountability partner. Perhaps that person will invite you to shadow them for a few hours or sit in on a meeting so you can be back in that world for a day. Put those people down here:
Now think about one of these activities and ask yourself if there are causes attached to them. Check out the examples below:
- If you love to cook, can you volunteer at a soup kitchen?
- If you love sports, can you volunteer with a running organization and help them with their next race? Can you be a volunteer coach?
- If you're tech-savvy, can you do design work pro bono for your alma mater or a local charity that needs a makeover?
- If you love interacting with people, is there a nursing home, hospital, Meals on Wheels program, Candlelighters chapter, or Ronald McDonald House that's looking for volunteers to spend time with clients, patients, or their family members?
- If you're connected to a religious institution or spiritual organization, ask them if they have lists of places looking for more support.
- If you love kids, can you read to a classroom? Can you look into the Make-a-Wish Foundation or be a Big Brother or Big Sister?
- If you have a lot of experience in a certain industry, can you guest lecture for a local school (perhaps where you attended), a community event, or a religious group?
- If you're creative and have time to spare, is there a gala or upcoming charity event that needs committee members? Can you help find the venue, pick the menu, decorate the room, or design the invitation? Can you help set up or break down the event? Can you help sell tickets or recruit guests to attend?
- If you're close to someone who's sick or someone who's a caregiver, can you organize meals or help with daily tasks?
The next time you want to take action but feel like you're standing in quicksand, just revisit these questions to spark new ideas.