Make a difference in the world

You don’t need to be a doctor or a millionaire philanthropist to impact the lives of those around you. Take our advice — and these baby steps — to make a lasting difference

philanthropy, volunteer, help others, make a difference

Save a life
If you’re short on time or money you can still help save lives. Simply show up to your local blood donor clinic and give what you can to help those in need. You can also become a stem cell or bone marrow donor where you are uniquely matched to patients who have not found suitable donors in their own families. Check out the Canadian Blood Services site for more information.

Your morning fix
Ever wonder where your coffee comes from? You probably should. Next time you go to pick up a morning brew, ask if there’s a fair trade option. While you may pay a few cents more, you’ll be helping create sustainable livelihoods for the people that provide your favourite fix. And there’s more than just coffee – everything from chocolate to wine can be fair trade certified.

Give a good gift
Instead of piling presents under the tree this year give the gift of a donation. Toys and clothes will eventually end up in a landfill when they’ve outgrown their use. Charitable donations can last a lifetime and are great ideas for birthdays and anniversaries. Invest in a cow, goat, or tree from World Vision this year.

Be a joiner
If you like to run or bike why not sign up with a cause and fundraise while you’re at it? Races like the Joe’s Team Triathlon or Joints in Motion will not only help you commit to a workout routine but also give money to worthy causes like cancer and arthritis research.

Host a dinner party
Who says fundraising can’t be, well, fun! Whether it’s a potluck or a formal affair invite your friends over for a feast — and ask them to bring what they’d usually spend on a night out. Join Stephen Lewis’s Dare to Dine or donate to a charity of your choice.

Become a mentor
Unleash your inner child and become a big sister or brother to a child under 16. Not only will you help them learn to see the world in a new way but you might just learn something yourself.

Buy local
Support your local farmers by buying Canadian. And we’re not just talking veggies —check the labels on your clothing and even your beauty products. Go see local bands, eat at independent restaurants and buy from local artists.

Five-minute world-changers:

  • Bike to work
  • Recycle
  • Replace your light bulbs with LED bulbs
  • Vote
  • Read the newspaper
  • Give food to a homeless person
  • Donate your old clothes to a local women’s shelter
  • Weed your community garden

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