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Random Acts of Kindness
The “United We Serve” initiative began in January 2013 with President Obama’s call for Americans to volunteer and has arguably developed into Random Acts of Kindness all across the country. To make your mark, here are some great examples of Random Acts of Kindness:
- Pick-Up Trash
- Pay for the car behind you via drive-thru or toll
- Plant a Tree
- Hold the door open for someone, especially an elderly individual
- Allow someone to go ahead of you in line, especially if you have a lot of items versus their few or they have young children
- Leave quarters in meters, at the laundromat, in candy machines and merry-go-round rides
- Donate non-perishables to food pantry
- Donate items you no longer use to Goodwill or Salvation Army, or on Craigslist or FreeCycle
- Visit or Read to Elderly
- Conserve Water
- Use Reusable Water Bottle
- Use Digital Coupons versus Paper
- Use Reusable Shopping Bags
- Conserve energy
Neighborly for family, friend, neighbor, hair stylist, bank teller, massage therapist, stranger, etc.:
- Donate books
- Tutor children
- Host an international student
- Complete employee surveys
- Return a shopping cart
- Buy locally–small businesses and farmers markets
- Become an Organ Donor
- Donate Blood
- Donate your Hair to Locks of Love
- Write a Hand-Written Thank You
- Tip Generously
- Compliment waiter/waitress or customer service representative by asking to speak to their manager
- Give a positive review on Etsy, Angie’s List, etc.
- Fill up a strangers’ gas tank
- Thank public service employee: mail carrier, firefighter, police officer, etc.
- Offer repair man, technician, etc. a beverage
- Stranger on hair style, outfit, jewlery, etc.
- Mother or father for their parenting techniques
- Company’s products or services via phone or email (as opposed to negative remarks)
For additional Random Acts of Kindness, see the following resources:
Do you have young children or time restrictions? Check out: Random Acts of Kindness Online and Volunteerism
“About United We Serve.” United We Serve. Serve.gov, n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2014.
Random Acts of Kindness Online
There are many wonderful things you can do to help others, but volunteerism, charity and kindness can require a lot of time, something especially difficult when you have a busy schedule or small children. The following are some great ways to put your time or money to work in making a positive difference from your couch for individuals and non-profit organizations:
- Random Kindness: A “subreddit” of Reddit, a public forum, where you can request and gift acts of kindness.
- Random Acts of Amazon: Similar to Random Kindess, Random Acts of Amazon is another subreddit where people post their Amazon Wish Lists and, as a kind soul, you can gift an item. Random Wishlist provides you with just that or you can search by similar interests via Wishlist Database Search (orange buttons on right hand side). Here’s how you send a gift.
- Random Acts of Pizza: Where you can gift a pizza to somebody in need via an eGift Card sent to their email. In the subreddit, individuals will provide a brief description about their circumstances and are very good at paying it forward. Similarly, see Food Pantry and Assistance.
- Donate to a Non-Profit: There are over 1.5 million non-profit organizations, but here a few of my favorites for personal reasons: Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America for Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerlative Colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, American Cancer Society and Help-Portrait, a global movement of photographers, hair stylists and makeup artists providing no-cost portraits annually in early December.
- Volunteer Match: Check out the virtual opportunities! A combination of local and virtual, Volunteer Match connects volunteers and non-profits based on shared interests. Presently, they have matched 8.2 million opportunities.
- Skills for Change: Non-profits’ quick, e-volunteering or virtual opportunities posted as challenges
- UN Volunteers: Virtual opportunities geared toward sustainable human development
- Click for a Cause: Greater Good and its subsidiaries for Hunger, Breast Cancer, Animals, Veterans, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Rainforest and Literacy, and Care2 for Children, Breast Cancer, Animal Rescue, Rainforest, Violence Against Women, Global Warming, Ocean, Seals, Big Cats, Primates and Wolves.
- Donate Old Stuff: Post things you no longer use to FreeCycle or Craigslist. You do have to request to join FreeCycle or create an account on Craigslist, but both are free.
As your schedule becomes more flexible, check out Random Acts of Kindness for non-virtual opportunities and Volunteerism
“How Many Nonprofit Organizations Are There in the U.S.?” GrantSpace. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2014.
Volunteerism is the original Random Act of Kindness although not entirely random. One in four Americans volunteered last year (25.4%) contributing 7.9 billion hours for many different non-profit organizations like food pantries, religious affiliations, homeless shelters, etc. How great is that?!
On the other hand, volunteerism has decreased 1.1%, with the top reasons against cited as:
- Time: Read “commitments” and the frustration when you solely are responsible for everything because volunteer A-Y bailed
- Money: Between gas to haul materials for set-up, postage for donations and thank-you notes, snacks for target audience and volunteers, and funds actually spent at the event, finances can be daunting
- Parenting Responsibilities: Small children, adorable as they are, are notorious for their energy suction capabilities and monitoring necessity
- Qualifications: If volunteers are interested in offering their time, a primary concern is how they can help or, more specifically, what tasks they will be completing
Benefits of Volunteerism So, what? Valid question. Aside from the estimated $175 billion benefit, there are individual benefits too including:
- Increased Happiness: Being “very happy” rose 7% among monthly volunteers and 12% for those who volunteer every two to four weeks
- Social Health: Meet new people and increase social and relationship skills
- Mental and Physical Well-Being: Improve self-confidence, combat depression and reduce risk of heart disease
- Employment: Provide career experience and enjoy a 27% greater chance of employment
- Role Model: Encourage and motivate others especially when you volunteer as a family and children have the opportunity to witness the benefits
- Having Fun!
Become a Volunteer To get started, check out: Local Opportunities:
“Volunteering and Its Surprising Benefits.” : Helping Yourself While Helping Others. HelpGuide.Org, 2014. Web. 13 Aug. 2014. “Volunteering in America.” Corporation for National and Community Service. USA.gov, 2014. Web. 11 Aug. 2014. “Volunteering in the United States, 2013.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 25 Feb. 2014. Web. 09 Aug. 2014.
You may also like: Random Acts of Kindness and Random Acts of Kindness Online