Menu
Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!

10 Simple Ways to Make the World a Better Place

Volunteering

“As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person.” ~Paul Shane Spear

I have always wanted to change the world.

I remember being four years old, sitting glued to the television on Sunday mornings, not watching cartoons, but utterly captivated by World Vision. I cried about the injustices in the world, and begged my mother to let me sponsor Maria, the girl with the large, sad eyes who was around my age.

My mom patiently tried to explain to me that we couldn’t afford to send her money. I couldn’t understand, since we seemed to live in luxury compared to Maria.

Having been raised in a middle-class community of about 800 people in rural Newfoundland, I had never seen a stark divide between the rich and the poor. We all seemed to be the same to my four-year-old eyes.

My heart broke for Maria, and all of the other children on the show. I vowed to myself that someday, I was going to help people like her.

Throughout my childhood, I told everyone that I wanted to change the world. Many didn’t take my seriously. They’d say, “One person can’t change anything.”

Still, I knew I wanted to make a positive difference by helping people, animals, and the environment.

I started volunteering in elementary school, and became a vegetarian at the age of 13.

People asked, “Why bother? You know, that cow isn’t going to come back to life because you aren’t going to eat it.” And they very often said, “It won’t make a difference.”

I tried to explain that every action counted, and that we all had to make small efforts or nothing would ever change.

As time went on, people around me began to criticize less, and many friends and family members decided to try some of the things I was advocating.

Each time I did something to make a positive impact, it left me wanting to do more.

You may think that you need to be a world leader or a billionaire in order to make a difference.

I always believed that being a good person is about the small things. It’s about how you treat other people, not how many people you have power over.

If you’d like to make the world a better place, but aren’t sure how to fit it into your busy life, these ideas may help:

1. Volunteer.

Volunteering doesn’t have to consume all of your free time. You can volunteer as few hours as you would like! You can find an organization within your community, or you can even volunteer online, through websites that will allow you to help for even a few minutes at a time.

2. Donate blood.

This can be one of the most satisfying ways to make a difference. You can literally save a life with just an hour of your time.

3. Donate used clothing.

There are so many places and ways you can donate your used clothing. Some organizations even offer pick up services, Donate them to a homeless shelter, or an organization that sells them to raise funds.

4. Foster an animal.

This can be such a rewarding experience. If you’re able to part with the foster animals, they leave a hole in your heart, but fostering your next pet helps fill it, and you will be making a difference in the lives of so many animals in need.

5. Spread the word about various causes in your community.

See an interesting fundraiser that an organization is hosting? Share it on Facebook! See an animal that’s up for adoption? Share it. There are so many ways you can help an organization with just the click of a mouse.

6. Donate something you made to an organization that can use it.

I make jewelry, hats, scarves, and other crafty things in my free time. I’ve donated many hats and scarves to homeless shelters, and donate jewelry to a cat rescue organization for them to sell or auction to raise funds. You have talents—use them!

7. Join a bone marrow registry.

It’s incredibly easy to sign up to donate bone marrow, and you never know when you could save a life.

8. Spread some kindness.

Small acts of kindness can go a long way in making the world a better place. Think about a time when someone did something unexpected for you that brightened your day. Weren’t you a nicer person for the rest of the day because of that?

I’m willing to bet that anyone who receives an act of kindness passes it on in some way, even if it’s just by being in a better mood, and therefore treating the people around them with more kindness than usual.

Send someone a kind message. Give a small gift. Make something for someone. Tell someone how much they mean to you. There are so many ways to brighten someone’s day.

9. Change your diet.

Many people will argue with the validity of this strategy to improve the world; however, what you buy reflects what you value.

If you don’t want to become a vegetarian, try having one meat-free day per week. If you don’t want to reduce your meat consumption, how about buying some free range meat or eggs? Or, buy organic food products. There are many ways you can change your diet to reflect your values.

10. Make your purchases support your values.

Every purchase you make supports something. You can either support a large business that exploits people, animals, and the environment, or you can buy items that are local, organic, or fair-trade. It’s hard to change this all at once, especially if you’re used to shopping for bargains, but try changing just a few of your purchases to make them better reflect the things you value.

These are just a handful of the thousands of ways you can make the world a better place! Just remember that every single thing you do makes a difference. Don’t ever let anyone—yourself included—discourage you from trying to be a better person and help others.

Photo by Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire

Avatar of Samantha Hodder

About Samantha Hodder

Samantha Hodder is a nonprofit worker, educator, animal rescuer, and jewellery maker. She discusses topics like this (and more) on her blog, which can be found here: http://hodderdesigns.blogspot.ca.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Birdy

    When I was a child I always wanted to change the world, unfortunately the people who told me ‘one person can’t change anything’ got me down a lot. The conviction in your beliefs is wonderful and inspiring. As I got older I decided these people were wrong and started making small steps the way you describe. Love this post!

  • http://www.facebook.com/samantha.hodder Samantha Hodder

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! It’s so hard to not let all of those kinds of comments discourage you. I’m glad you have realized that they were wrong! Keep making a difference! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=7407933 Kelsey Jane

    You sound a lot like me. Keep up the good work.

  • http://twitter.com/akhilaredd akihilare

    Very Interesting. Thank you

  • Guest

    I love this post and it really resonates with me. Thank you for the suggestions and purely for the shared belief in making the world a better place!

  • http://www.sixsimplerules.com/ David Singer/SixSimpleRules

    #11. Write a blog post like yours. Well done!

    Best regards,

    David

  • http://www.facebook.com/samantha.hodder Samantha Hodder

    :) Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/samantha.hodder Samantha Hodder

    I’m glad you enjoyed it! I love to hear that others have the same feelings about making the world a better place! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/KalyaniRoldan Kalyani Roldan

    Hey Samantha – I so appreciate your post! I’ve been so very passionate about this approach to life for many years, and struggled with what is happening in our world today. On one side humanity is being more destructive than ever before… and on the other side humanity is awakening more than ever before. Your post is a great reminder for all of us that even with very minimal effort from each of us doing even just a little bit that combined makes a tremendous difference! Our family, the Radical Roldans @I Get It! Movement, are doing our part everyday and always opening to where we can do and be more to continue uplifting all humanity, animals and the beautiful planet we all call home. :o)

  • Richard

    I especially like the suggestion concerning diet; unlike the other suggestions, you often don’t see the immediate impact of your food choices. Maybe this topic can be expanded a bit more (such as the value of purchasing from local farmer’s markets).

    Very innovative suggestions!

  • http://www.facebook.com/samantha.hodder Samantha Hodder

    Buying locally grown food is another very important way to make an impact with your purchases. Kind of a combination of ideas number 9 and 10. I’m glad you enjoyed the part about food. I definitely think that concept is something that could be expanded upon.

    Also, I love buying from farmer’s markets. :)

    Thanks for the insight!

  • http://www.facebook.com/samantha.hodder Samantha Hodder

    Thanks, Kalyani! I’m glad you enjoyed the article and that you are passionate about making a difference as well. I love hearing from people that they too have been struggling with this and yet are overcoming it, and won’t let the world stop them from trying to make the world a better place.

  • The FreeBird Project

    I really like the message of your post. I love how you had a vision as a young girl to help change the world, and just by writing something like this, you are doing so. Your words inspire me to keep moving in the direction of helping others. Thanks for writing this.

  • sam

    Glad I read this post and comments.Its nice know there are people out there who have similar ideas.This is a huge inspiration for me.Thank you Samantha and all the others who have commented.

  • ana

    hi,i am 14 and i love to go through such articles and today,i got lucky and read your article and i think its fantastic.we have all been hearing the same dialogues-”what can one person do?what difference will it make?”but they forget that tiny drops of water form the ocean,and each one of them count.similarly,every act of ours,every effort of ours to change something,counts.if people get inspired and do that one act,make that one effort,that can cause a huge difference. thanks for the article.

  • Anurag Max

    <3 You are my inspiration! An important one (y)

  • Samantha Hodder

    I definitely agree! I’m glad you enjoyed the article and that you believe in the difference one person can make!

  • http://www.yourlifefitdes.ca/ Alexey Sunly

    Great suggestions, Samantha! Thank you for sharing :-)

  • Rajabu Hochi

    I absolutely agree with Samantha Hodder on the sprit to make the world better place to live. Keep it up and we are behind you to support any how any way

  • Rajabu Hochi

    Samantha you are my role model

  • Hannah crayola fan

    Meep. cray cray over crayolas!!!! ♥

  • Hannah

    lolz

  • BRIAN

    MEEP

  • Woomy

    That quote from Paul Shane Spear said it all.

  • John

    First Nice Picture Samantha Hodder
    Second Your Article teahs the Life of how to be Compressive/Careful and lovely in life and that’s so good and cool Budda bless you! :) <3

  • Oldsofty

    Did you ever sponsor a child from an improverished area? It is very cool.

  • Simon Rudduck

    Care about other people, and don’t let any world view cloud your understanding of others, especially if it was one you were born into.