What’s the most effective way to make a difference to people who need help?
a) send money?
b) give them some of your time? Either the individuals or the organisations that work to help them.
c) try to leave them with something permanent, like a new skill?
This book gives a great analysis – for example, becoming a doctor makes no difference if you are just taking the place of someone else who would have become a doctor. And doing something in Africa – like teaching or building a well – often has less permanent effect that we hope.
The books says that often, especially if our time is valuable, it’s better to earn some (or quite a lot of) money and send that, rather than to put in a chunk of our time.
But sending money feels a bit uncommitted somehow, not really making enough effort.
But then there’s the problem that many of us have, including me, which is what CAN we offer? There aren’t many things I can do to help a village in Africa, I don’t know about plumbing or farming or medicine I’m afraid.
So I’ve been sending money to www.kiva.org – highly recommended – but still keep wondering if I can leverage my skills in some other way.
I was thinking about donating some training time, maybe teaching skills like Time Management which everyone needs, or Project Management which some people (maybe charities) need right now with their projects, and others could use to earn a living as a project manager.
I think I’d want to charge a little bit for the training in order to make sure that the learners were genuinely interested. I’ve done re-training for unemployed groups as part of government schemes – which seemed like a great idea but it turned out to be pretty thankless – they just didn’t want to be there, or they were so demoralised by life that they felt that learning something new was beyond them.
So how to reach large numbers of people all over the world with training that is extremely cheap, almost free?
And then I realised that I am already doing that, with www.udemy.com, where people can access any of my courses for about £10.
So that’s a nice thought – thousands of people a day are taking advantage of everything that I have put on Udemy, and hopefully that’s changing the world for the better, just a little bit.
So now I’m thinking: …..”what else?”
Suggestions gratefully received!