Five ways you can make an impact on the world right now

    Article by Ami Gill

    Ami Gill

    Posted: November 6, 2019

    With so much bad news in the media, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It may seem daunting to think about how you can make an impact on the world. But fear not, here are five ways you can make an impact right now.

    1) Take some time for yourself

    It may sound counter-intuitive, but in order to have a meaningful impact, it is important to start from within. 

    Before setting out to be part of the change, find out what motivates and relaxes you. It may be anything from reading about issues to exercising, or perhaps some meditation. Finding that inner peace can help you focus your mind.



    With this focus, it’s easier to get a sense of what you’re really passionate about. Discovering what you’re passionate about will help you find a project that suits you. 

    Of course, making an impact will add to your overall well-being. While volunteering, you can even develop skills in leadership, communication, and organisation. By filling your own cup you’ll have enough to help others. 

    2) Make someone’s day

    Have you ever had a really bad day and suddenly one person smiled at you or offered a compliment, making your day a little brighter? Why not be that person for someone else? 



    Simply smiling at someone can help make a positive impact on their day. Or perhaps you can offer to assist a friend or colleague in need. It may sound small, but the impact you made on someone else may encourage them to pay it forward. 

    A small gesture often goes a long way, and you never know how many people you will affect with a knock-on impact thanks to your actions. 

    When we help each other out we build bridges and create the foundations of a strong community. This community helps us to make an impact. As the saying goes, no man is an island. 

    3) Read about local issues and talk to a local politician

    Original photo by congerdesign is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

    Speaking of communities, why not find out what issues are affecting your local community? From environmental to health, to social issues, every community has room for improvement. 

    Reading your local newspaper and talking to people in your area can give you insight into what these issues are and how to be part of the solution. 

    Research here is key. It’s always important to know all the facts in order to have the greatest impact. Working on a GVI project offers just that. Because GVI projects are community-led GVI works closely with its community partners to ensure that the project’s impact is meaningful and long-lasting. When you do your research into local issues, you’ll be more likely to find an effective solution.



    Once you have researched and reflected on how to be part of the solution, get in contact with your local politician. Most local officials have an address (digital and physical) you can send letters or emails to. 

    Or you could go along to a town hall meeting, where you can voice your opinions face to face. This can even encourage others to rally behind a cause. With a community behind a cause, the impact you’ll have will be long-lasting. 

    4) Organise a local litter pick up


    Is there an area local to you that needs a little love? It can be disheartening to walk past a patch of land and see litter sprawled out everywhere. A great way to make an environmental impact is to organise a litter pick-up. 

    Whether it’s a local park, a beach, or even around your high street, organising a litter pick up is a productive use of time.

    All you need to be successful is a spot to clean, some friends to rally around and of course, make sure you obtain permission from the landowner. Not only are you making a difference to your environment, but you are also bringing your community together. 

    5) Volunteer


    Whether locally, nationally or internationally, volunteering is a great way to make an impact. To help you narrow down the type of project to volunteer on, think about your passion. 

    Perhaps it’s working with wildlife, teaching children, or maybe you want to be part of bridging the gap with gender inequality. There are many different projects you can get involved in to help make an impact. 

    As mentioned before, volunteering is a great way to develop your own skills too. You may even find a desire to make an impact beyond your volunteer time.



    As a GVI volunteer, you develop a greater understanding of the local communities you work alongside and acquire skills such as adaptability and communication. You also know that the impact you have is long term. 

    GVI’s projects work towards the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Aligning with the UN gives a strong framework for meaningful impact in the communities where GVI works.  

    Volunteering with GVI ensures you’ll be part of a positive, long-lasting impact. So why wait? Sign up to be part of the journey.

    Ami Gill is an intern at the GVI Writing Academy. The Writing Academy is a skills-development program that pairs development editors with budding travel writers. Learn more about the program here.