Easy Steps to Giving Back in Your 20's

If not us, who? If not now, when?

Giving back should not be confused with the common misconception that you need to be established or successful in order to start making a difference. Sometimes when we think of giving back, we misunderstand the context, or extent to which “giving back” implies. It is not limited to the idea of giving thousands to a charity — more often times than not, making changes and developing a few habits can actually set a 20-something in the direction towards making a HUGE difference.

You may be in college, or a recent college-grad with tons of debt and little time to spare. However, giving back can work in steps, even baby steps, that can add up over time and lead you towards making an impact on the lives of others.

Stop and think for a moment — if not now, when? When you’re older, have more time, maybe retired? Sure, but think of it this way — right now we have tons of social media platforms, giving us opportunities to collaborate with incredible people and share ideas that can be used for creating a better, brighter future. You’re young, have big ideas and lots of energy. You also have a fresh perspective and modern take on the world, use your perception to contemplate what needs to be changed. Don’t hold off on getting involved — start making a difference now.

1. What are your values?

When you’re considering how you want to give back, it is important to determine what you value. Is is education? Sustainability? Make a list, detailed or not, simply write down thoughts that first come to mind. Next, you need to consider what makes you passionate about those values. Perhaps with education it’s providing learning tools for women, empowering them through educational opportunities. Of course you may have more than one, but narrowing down your interests into passions is essential. Passions include things that make you enthusiastic and spark joy. Through making a list and getting specific, you are able to funnel your strength and provide power behind your giving-back-mojo. Furthermore, it is ten times more enjoyable to put time and energy into causes that you are truly passionate about.

2. Dive into the research.

Instead of mindlessly scrolling though Instagram and Facebook while sipping your coffee, use that time to research charities and organizations (there are tons!). This will help you figure out exactly how you can help make a difference; It may be a small first step, such as making an Instagram post and using a hashtag to support a charity, or taking a few hours out of your Sunday to attend a meeting. Again, this circles back to the importance of following your values and passions. Giving back should not be something that you dread. If you love it, then incorporating these changes will not only be a breeze, but make you happy.

3. Network with like-minded individuals.

Tied in with the importance of research, get in touch with those already involved, or reach out to friends who are interested in giving back. Email, follow social media pages and attend open events or meetings. When you surround yourself with people who have the same or similar goals and outlooks on life, it makes it easier to reach yours. The best ways that lead to making a difference come from the exchange of ideas. Start conversations with those around you, ask questions and continue to research.

4. Commit and prioritize.

A 20-something’s schedule can sometimes look a bit crazy and all over the place. However, committing to something that you want to do will cause you to have to make a set schedule. A schedule includes priorities, right? The last step is to make sure that you’re making giving back priority. Prioritizing what you want to achieve is simple and easy. Through blocking out time in your calendar for making efforts towards giving back, you’ll be more likely to stick with it and follow through. This also goes back to the idea of networking with people and research. Make time in your schedule for when you can dedicate time. Set reminders and alerts on your iPhone calendar and make giving back a priority.