Did you know you can change the world in your spare time, in your gym kit, your pyjamas, or simply by geeking out online? If you want to make a difference, it’s easy to fit being a changemaker into a life that may already feel frantic and busy.
We love a feelgood project that helps build better communities through our existing daily habits, offers an imaginative alternative to the conventional or taps into the human potential. So does Helen Brain.
While marketing and doing good might not always seem like obvious bedfellows, the media professional has spent a lot of time exploring how business can be more purposeful and have a more positive impact – on society, the economy and the environment: “This professional and personal development has led me into a world of social change that I believe everyone would benefit from being more aware of!”
Helen set up Be The Real Change for people who have a genuine desire to make positive change. These are her five suggestions of where to start.
1. Be My Eyes, Copenhagen, Denmark
“Be My Eyes is a free mobile app that connects a community of half a million volunteers around the world to the blind and visually impaired, helping them to solve their daily challenges and get on with life. It’s such a simple solution to the myriad of daily challenges that they can face, and also offers volunteers a genuinely rewarding experience in exchange for small amounts of their time.”
AtlasAction ► Lend your eyes to the blind
“You don’t need to be a scientist, a researcher or an academic to take part in Zooniverse, the world’s leading ‘citizen science’ platform. Anyone can help out. All you need is access to the internet. I genuinely believe that platforms that take advantage of the power of the global crowd are needed to help us overcome our joint global challenges. They make it simple for people to get involved and they create a sense of personal responsibility as we take an active part in answering some of the planets’ big questions.”
AtlasAction ► Join the zoo
3. Feeding India, Delhi, India
“Feeding India redistributes good extra food, which may have gone to waste, to people in need. Sometimes ‘tech for good’ can fail to gain traction, but Feeding India has driven real change at scale. I especially love that fact that they don’t just recruit volunteers to deliver on the practical work of distributing food to those in need, but prepare them for a larger, longer term positive impact – creating a ripple effect across society.”
AtlasAction ► Join the #IamFeedingIndia movement
“At its simplest GoodGym is a community of runners that combines getting fit with doing good deeds. I love this one because it feels so simple that it’s hard to believe that it hasn’t been done before, and it’s really opened my mind up to the possibility of building better communities through our existing daily habits. You may end up helping an individual – weeding a garden for an elderly person, for example, or it could be a group run that includes planting trees in a local park.”
AtlasAction ► Find your reason to run
“Lots of people who work in marketing and media know how to make brands famous, and how to drive behavioural change, and increasingly they want to put those skills to good use, but like me, many don’t really know where to start in finding a charity that would need their specific skills. The Media Trust matchmake charities with media experts and volunteers in real life to achieve genuine change. I love this project because it enables people to use their experience and knowledge to have a positive and tangible impact on the world.”
AtlasAction ► Train, mentor or create content for charities
Helen Brain was talking to Atlas Editor Lisa Goldapple. Learn more about her project Be The Real Change.