Getting Good at Doing Good
Posted on March 5, 2013
We all want to do good.
There’s been a surge of social startups / organizations / causes / actions. The altruistic nature of people is gradually populating, and it [doing good] can sometimes be a daunting task. There are a million guides to begin, and to a certain extent, we all know how to make things work. We gather as much information we can, we throw our ideas up in the air, and we converse as much as possible to get more feedback.
Ultimately, we inherently desire to give back as much as we have gained.
During the past few years, I have been fortunate to be a part of a few projects that run along those lines. There has been a rising enthusiasm of the young, old and the in-between, interested in creating more good, which is wonderfully heartwarming. Thus, I’d like to share my experience on how to be good at doing good.
Instead of using the term stakeholders, I shall define them as communities. And there are five communities I would like to consider.
- The community you are working with.
- The team working with you.
- The ones supporting you.
- The users you engage with.
- The community/communities that you are not directly in contact with.
We all understand our direct community. They are the group that we are seeking to provide assistance. We all know we have to build our prominent sponsor group so the financial step up can help you continue to do good. We’re all aware that we need to provide the best working environment for ourselves and our team, to keep us going. And, we know that we want to be the best storytellers so that users can understand and be supportive as well.
But what about those you don’t even encounter? Every action or intervention we create, we are always affecting some other group, whether we intend to do so or not. So consider them, talk to them, discuss with them. Doing good for one is great, but how is the good affecting the others? Is it doing good for them too?
Are there any? Are there any other organizations, or individuals, or activity already in existence? Is there something that we can collaborate on with them? Often times, the existing scenario can be a better way to connect with the people. For example, there could be an NGO that has already been in close relations and have planned activities and goals for the place.
I believe we all have good intentions. We all want to give when we can. But, do they want what you give? It’s not really about what we can come up with or what we choose to offer. But, really, what do they want us to do for them? Because doing good should not just be about happy children faces and smiling families. It should also be about a willing collaboration between you and the community. You are providing them with a platform to decide if they want a different setting for themselves. And working closely with the organizations or platforms that have already been set up can be a greater way to connect with one another.
How do we sustain ourselves? It’s a question that always pushes us to apply for grants, champion ourselves to sponsors, and seek financial remedies.
But, the sustenance that I’m referring to, is the one for yourself. The long-term marathon of doing good cannot be sustained without continued refreshments for the physical, the mind, and the psychological. It’s quite easy to forget ourselves when we continually think of others.
Sometimes it’s just hearing advice from the experienced, or an encouragement from a stranger, or sharing the problems that has been emerging through white hairs, or even just finding time to breathe. Center for Non-Profit Leadership in Singapore is a great example and a reminder for us not to forget to provide the right support, mentorship, and growth for the individuals that have chosen this path.
It’s easy to talk about the stories, give the money, and share the knowledge. But nothing beats the words than your own presence. And not just being there, but working; knees-deep with the people makes a big difference. One cannot express the dedication and sincerity you have until others see you in action.
It is also best when you get any one who has been involved, supporters, sponsors, your team, other organizations you work with, to get in on the act with you. When we’re all immersed in the action of giving, the impact and the motivation that makes you want to do this is tenfold more powerful.
At the end of it all
We want to do good. We want to make a change. We want to create impact. Because when you boil down to the essence of things, tall buildings and urbanized privileges aside, we all know that we must all look out for one another. Because the value is not just in the act of giving, but also in the learning of life and love with each other.
So, what good do you want to do?
Often we are bombarded with reasons and excuses when we think about doing good. I don’t have time. I don’t have enough money to donate. What is the point when I can only help so little?
Well, once you have picked up a topic that interests you passionately, you will find time for it. Sure, we never know how far our little actions can really make an impact but you will really only find out, once you are physically in the midst of it. Doing good doesn’t have to be a grand idea or a large gesture; all it takes is a single step to start.
Here’s a list of place or organizations that can nudge you to make that first step.
START WITH AN IDEA
Anyone is invited to participate in creating solutions to the questions they throw out there.
START WITH A GESTURE
The world needs more love letters, spread the love folks!
START WITH YOUR SKILLS
A place that connects organizations with people like you who want to provide their skills for pro-bono work.
START WITH FIVE MINUTES A DAY
Improve your voabulary and donate food. Just five miutes of your time a day.
START BY UNDERSTANDING
Through this interactive game, understand what it means to be living under poverty level.
Or, you can simply start by talking with those who have already been there, done that, and want to spread that. ∗