a Good Cause
A regular financial donation to a cause will undoubtedly make a difference. Find an organization that's doing good work in the way you'd like to see the world improve and set up a reoccurring payment. Patreon offers a way to support creative endeavors. And I recently donated to one of my favorite podcasts to help fund their production. But you also don't have to donate money. Offer to help out at a local animal shelter. You can clean out your pantry (or buy extra at the grocery store) and give needed items to a local food bank. Or donate blood—just one 10 minute donation could save multiple lives.
If you don't have a lot of free time to give, sites like Skills for Change allow you to volunteer online in your spare time by helping worthy nonprofits achieve their goals utilizing your individual interests and skill set. For example, if you have experience with graphic design or copy writing, you could help a charity with a brochure or other important literature. I volunteer using an app, Be My Eyes, which connects you to blind and low vision people in need of visual assistance via a live video call. I get an alert that someone's calling and pick it up to help them tackle tasks big and small—from checking an expiration date, help distinguishing colors while shopping or reading simple instructions. Each call is usually less than two minutes.
Spare Some Time
These days, one of the most valuable possessions we have is time. Use it wisely and consider giving some of it to those in need. Of course, you can find worthy organizations where you can volunteer or help out. But you can also lend a helping hand or an ear to a loved one or colleague in need. Offer to workout with a friend who's struggling to get active. Ask someone you see having a rough day what you can do to help. Or just listen. Don't try to fix the situation or judge. Just hear what they have to say. Listening is a powerful act of kindness.
Write a Thank You Note
This is something I'm challenging myself to get better about doing regularly. Whether it's expressing gratitude for a gift someone has sent me, a quick note to a family member I don't call enough or a descriptive note of how someone in my everyday life makes a difference. In an age of texts and emails, a hand-written note makes people stop and savor the sentiment. It's an easy way to enrich other's lives while making yourself feel like you're not taking all the things in life for granted.