By Aidan Donahue
I often feel helpless watching the news. Images of injustice continually appear on my screen, gripping me with a sense that something needs to change. I see growing income inequality, videos of police officers using excessive force, Syrian refugees forced out of their homeland and demagogues scapegoating marginalized groups.
Despite the emotions stirred in me and many of my peers, I often don’t know how to help. The lack of progress makes these issues feel insurmountable, a dangerous feedback loop that fosters impassivity.
I have found that the vigor of these shared compassionate emotions is often not matched with an organization that takes action. All too often, I have had an inspiring conversation with a friend, then returned to school the next day, without changing my actions. Do not get me wrong, sharing these feelings and perspectives is a critical fuel to social sentiments. It puts everyone in a position to comprehensively and thoroughly analyze current events. it makes people aware of what is going on. It forces people to think. What is missing is a visible avenue towards action.
The ironic truth to this situation is there is actually a countless supply of organizations working to improve people’s lives. As an intern at UniversalGiving, I have been able to learn more about some of these nonprofits. They are led by inspiring individuals, conduct meaningful work, and give the marginalized groups a voice. They are pragmatic idealists, achieving tangible results under the vision of a better world. The only problem is that these causes are often underfunded and understaffed, in need of more practical tools to accomplish their goals.
This is why facilitating philanthropy is so important. For every under-resourced non-profit, there is a group of people who want to help, but just do not know how. They need each other, they just don’t know where to find each other.
Visibility is a critical barrier in connecting these two sides. If people see opportunities to make a difference, they can act on them. A central location for nonprofit listing and publicity allows for a clear and thorough experience.
UniversalGiving bridges these caring people with these impactful nonprofits. By providing a platform for our partner organizations, UniversalGiving has created a hub for compassionate people to turn their emotions into actions. People find what works for them: type of project, international location, size– from a dollar donation to a year-long volunteer project. No matter what the opportunity is, the important part is that people are able to make an impact in a way that is meaningful to them.
Interning at UniversalGiving has really shown me how important it is to give people a voice, an avenue to express themselves. When people can channel their passion for progress into real change, then we get closer to living in a world of caring.