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15 August 2011

Guest Post: A 5 Step Guide To Giving With The Conscious Perspective's Heidi Oran

Today I'm excited to be sharing an important post written by one of my lovely friends & blogging cohorts, Heidi, who has recently started a new blog called The Conscious Perspective. If you've ever felt the urge to reach out to a cause, a charity or organization, but weren't sure how to go about it -- then this is the post for you. Enjoy!


The degree of suffering in our world today is apparent in society on a mass scale. Every time we turn on the news, visit a website, or check our Twitter accounts, many of us are reminded that our lives are actually quite charmed.

We recently shared a study stating that many of us today feel that we cannot be truly happy in our own lives when there is such great suffering in the rest of the world. This proves that now more then ever we as a society are compelled to do something; to make a difference.

There are millions of charities and other non-profit organizations currently operating throughout the world. So, how do we begin to find out how we can help to make a difference? What steps should we take? These are questions I have asked myself, and have heard others ponder as well.

With all of the amazing resources available to help us learn more about charities at our fingertips, we can make informed decisions, and feel good about them.

It can be overwhelming when you first begin thinking about giving back, and in order to help you get started we have created a 5-Step-Guide To Giving . We can’t change the world all on our own, but each of us is an integral part of the process.

01. Think about what cause is near and dear to your heart

There are many degrees of giving. Think about where you would most like to see a change. In your local community, your country, or internationally. I know many people who take comfort in knowing that they are making a difference in their local community and can see the results. This may even provide a hands-on volunteering opportunity on a regular basis.

Others may feel a pull towards a certain cause that is international. Your donation could be monetary, you could be a voice for the cause, or you could even visit an area to help out which would no doubt be a life-changing experience. The reality of the situation is that there are no shortage of causes. Give yourself some quiet time to think about what ranks high on your list of importance.

02. Research the cause

Once you have decided on the cause(es) that are most important to you, spend some time researching the subject. Make use of the internet, just be sure that the sites you are using are legitimate. Become informed and learn about where help is needed and change is required the most within the situation. This will allow you to know where to direct your efforts.

03. Visit a charitable organization ranking website

Luckily for us, there are many websites available that rank and/or compare charities. This is a comforting thought, as we often hear of corruption and issues with finances in charities. Websites such as Charity Navigator are there for us to use and learn from. Their site in particular is jam-packed with insightful articles and ratings.

04. Compare your top choices

You may have felt compelled to select more than one cause, and more than one charity. This is great and there is no reason to fret and narrow down your list. Unless you are blessed with a steady flow of extra cash and time however, you may need to compare your causes for now and select which one may be more realistic for you to focus on.

Once you have selected your cause, you may then need to compare charities. It is important that you connect with them – visit their websites, Twitter, Facebook. If what you are seeing/reading feels right to you, then you can take the next step

05. Take action

You have many options for taking action. You can assist financially which is always necessary with any charity. You may plan a trip or look into volunteering opportunities abroad or locally*. Or you can use the power of social media and your voice to spread the word to raise funds and awareness about the cause.

* If you are able to donate your time, but are having trouble coming up with the cash to get to where you need to be, consider holding a fundraiser to help you pay the way. This is another way to get others involved and include your community.

Heidi is a work-at-home mom with two young boys, living on a farm in a small city outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Visit her blog & Facebook page. Follow @conscious_blog on Twitter.

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