25 Ways to Walk the Walk of Social Good

Recently I had a conversation with a colleague who talked to me about the fact that she wondered if nonprofit professionals walked the walk of social good after work. I asked her what she meant by that, and she replied that she noticed that some people in her nonprofit seemed to “clock out” of doing social good once 5 o’clock rolled around.

She went on to say that she knew people in the sector who talked about how much time they gave to work, but she wondered if they lived the values of a philanthropic life and social good in their lives as a whole. The deeper issue is that she wondered if the work some nonprofit professionals were doing was “just work,” or if it stemmed from a system of values.

I thought that was a good question. And, that got me thinking.

What does it mean to walk the walk of social good after work hours?

I sat down and developed a list of things nonprofit professionals, or frankly, anyone can do to try to live a life of values in making a difference for social good. I’ve heard many people who have gotten into the nonprofit sector because they love a particular mission. I think that’s awesome and the world needs a lot more do-gooders. But, I also believe that the world in general needs a lot more people who walk the walk of social good.

Here are some ideas in case you’re interested in stepping up your social good game.

  1. Listen more and talk less.
  2. Volunteer and give of your time.
  3. Join a nonprofit board of directors.
  4. Give your skills and knowledge to an organization.
  5. Start your own nonprofit or social enterprise.
  6. Mentor someone.
  7. Start a club or group with two priorities: a) mutual interests (e.g. investments, books, community); and, b) making a difference in your community.
  8. Promote social good in a blog or on social media.
  9. Download and use a social good app.
  10. Be kind to everyone in your day­­–you don’t know what they may be going through despite the smile.
  11. Help businesses understand the value of corporate social responsibility and if you have a business, practice CSR.
  12. Take a vacation trip overseas with an excellent organization for “voluntourism.”
  13. Live a sustainable life and lower your carbon footprint–in other words, consume less.
  14. Stop eating meats–51 percent of greenhouse gases come from this inefficient use of agriculture.
  15. Reprioritize how you spend money by giving to a cause instead of buying the latest new toy.
  16. Patronize socially responsible businesses.
  17. Donate your clothes.
  18. Telephone, write note cards or letters to people whom you know may need a friend or are alone.
  19. Collect gently worn, used and new shoes for money and social good.
  20. Learn and support causes or issues concerning race, social justice, gender, LGBTQ.
  21. Raise money for a cause.
  22. Join your local community or school board.
  23. Don’t follow the crowd on social media and live by the golden rule of treating people like you’d want to be treated.
  24. Say thank you and please more often.
  25. Use humor more–life doesn’t have to be so hard, even when it is.

Any one of us can live a life of social good values. If you work in the philanthropic sector, the good you do doesn’t have to end the moment you walk out the door at work. And, if you are not in the nonprofit sector, but care about helping make a better world, I hope this list helps spark some ideas and action for you. As I said, we need a lot more do-gooders.

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