Looking for new ways to give back or approach philanthropy in your own life? We love TED Talks for providing informative bursts of motivation. In the following talks, presenters explain that you don’t have to donate huge sums to your favorite charity to make a big difference. Sometimes seemingly ordinary steps can make an impact on someone else’s life, and may even help to transform the way you see your place in the world.
Twenty years ago, if you invested $1 into a portfolio of companies whose main focus was generating more revenue, that dollar would have increased to $14.46. But had you invested in a portfolio of companies that focused on expanding their business and on environmental and social issues, that $1 would have become $28.36. A common misconception is that investing in stocks from companies that promote “doing good” means less return on purchases. However, Audrey Choi notes that in the investment industry, sustainable investment is actually the most rapidly growing sector, and explains why we shouldn’t be afraid to put our money in places where we can have a social impact.
All too often, charities are expected to change the world while also spending the smallest amount of money possible. Dan Pallotta encourages us to rethink the way that we see charities and not discredit them for having big goals like most for-profits businesses do, even if those aspirations come with a hefty price tag. Morality and frugality should not to be confused with one another — when we stop worrying so much about a charity’s overhead we can better support them in their mission to make a difference.
In order to be compassionate, one first be self-aware. Compassion is an emotion that is universally understood, and one that we can and should all work toward exercising all the time. In this talk, Dayananda Saraswati takes us through the journey of being born and vulnerable to growing up and showing empathy for others.
What does it mean to “be a leader”? Drew Dudley encourages us to move past the idea that leadership means changing the world because that includes such a small portion of the world. Instead, leadership should be more about celebrating our everyday connections and the ways we change others’ understandings, whether of themselves or their role in the world. In some way, shape, or form, we often impact the people around us without even being aware of it. For a moving talk with a side of humor, this one’s for you.
We’re surrounded by constant noise — from bustling streets to flashing media headlines — and we’re starting to truly listen less and less. In this talk, Julian Treasure offers five strategies to listen better, ranging from being silent for three minutes a day to the acronym RASA. He explains why listening is so important, and how exactly we can work on our conscious listening skills, connecting us further to each other and the world we live in.
If you’re a billionaire, it’s fairly easy to donate large sums of money to charities, positively affecting the lives of those who are less fortunate. However, for the rest of us, effective altruism is a significant concept — using both your head and your heart to give. Peter Singer uses several examples to show us how we can make the biggest difference, and all by utiliziling what we have. NOTE: There are 30 seconds of graphic footage related to the death of a small child starting at 0:30.
Alyssa Pak is currently an intern for Make It Better. She is a senior at New Trier High School and works as a features editor for the school newspaper. When she’s not writing, she can be found riding horses, taking a bike ride to Chicago Botanic Garden, or spending time with her family and friends. She also loves music and plays both the piano and the viola. Pak enjoys giving back to her community and volunteers for Freedom Woods Equestrian Center’s therapeutic riding program, using horses to assist kids with disabilities.