100 Tiny Good Deeds That Add Up to Big Change in the World
When it comes to random acts of kindness, we often feel like we have to “go big or go home.” That’s so untrue, though. There are countless tiny good deeds that can add up to a monumental change in the world. Read on for 100 of my favorites!
100 Tiny Good Deeds That Add Up to Big Change in the World
Kindness isn’t just the best way to change the world, ultimately it’s the ONLY way. Every positive change ever started with someone wanting to do the right thing for others. If you feel like you can’t do enough to really make a difference, think again. Every single good deed -no matter how big or small- helps tip the “kindness scales” in the right direction. With that in mind, whether you have time but no money, money but no time, or almost none of both, there’s something on the lists below that you can easily do. I promise!
70 Tiny Good Deeds That Don’t Cost a Cent
You don’t need a lot of money- or even time- to do good deeds and commit random acts of kindness for others. Some of these ideas take just a few seconds. Others require more of a time commitment. However, none of them require a single cent (except maybe a pen, paper, or art supplies in a few cases).
- Make it a point to wish people a Happy Birthday on Facebook. Such a small thing, but seeing all of those happy wishes can really lift up someone who isn’t having the best birthday.
- Send a “thinking of you” text to a friend who’s struggling. Let them know that you’re there to talk if they ever need to just vent.
- Volunteer to be a “story listener” at a nursing home (I really think this should be a thing!). Basically, just sit with residents and actively listen to all of their wonderful stories. They love talking about their younger years but too few people are willing to listen.
- Volunteer to clean out kennels at a shelter. Everyone wants to walk the dogs, but very few people volunteer for the “ickier” tasks.
- Speaking of kennels, donate your old blankets to one. They always need more.
- Let a car in when you’re on a busy road or stuck in traffic.
- Compliment a stranger. Just make sure it’s genuine. Better yet, compliment their kids (or even their pet)!
- Donate blood and plasma.
- Be an organ donor.
- Join the Be the Match Registry (for bone marrow donations)
- Switch spots with someone in line behind you.
- Leave “happiness rocks” in random places on a favorite hiking trail.
- Let someone off the hook. Whether that means forgiving someone for something big or just letting a small issue slide, that’s up to you to interpret.
- Help someone find what they’re looking for in a grocery store (you can tell they need it by the lost expression on their faces).
- Leave coupons behind at the grocery store.
- Write a “thank you” letter to a veteran.
- Learn CPR and what to do when someone is choking.
- Switch shifts with a co-worker who has to work on her birthday.
- Donate old electronics, especially cellphones and tablets, to organizations that give them to the needy.
- Donate your extra food to a food bank.
- Take a few minutes each day to leave “likes” on social media posts that don’t have any.
- Don’t just walk by litter when you see it. Pick it up and throw it away.
- Help your neighbor with yard work when you’re doing your own. Ask first if you don’t know them, though. Some people don’t want others in their yard for insurance reasons, even if they’re helping.
- Be your neighborhood “welcome wagon.” Offer to show people around and help them get settled.
- Cook “too much food” and take some to your loneliest neighbor.
- Give up your seat on the bus, at the doctor’s office, or anyplace else where someone needs it.
- Write a real handwritten letter to someone and mail it. These days we mostly get bills in the mail, so it will be a nice surprise!
- Post funny memes and videos on Facebook. I have a friend who posts them every single day. She says that if just one person laughs, it’s worth it.
- Put back stray carts at the grocery store.
- Hold the door open for people.
- Do good deeds for the planet and everyone on it (and even all of the generations yet to come)! Recycle, use less plastic, have a “power-free hour” where you don’t use anything that plugs in, and so on. Share your knowledge and teach someone how to do something that you know how to do well.
- Offer up your skills. For example, if you’re an excellent writer, volunteer to write newsletters for a non-profit.
- Reach out to an old teacher and let them know how something that they taught you has stayed with you even after all of these years. Teachers love knowing that they made a lasting impact on their students.
- Thank a nurse. Doctors get all of the credit, but it’s the nurses who spend the most time caring for us and advocating for us when we’re sick.
- Compliment someone to their supervisor. People send emails to rant about “bad service” constantly, but too few do it to rave about a good experience.
- After you thank your waiter, ask them to pass on your thanks to the cook, the dishwasher, and all of the other people who helped make your meal special.
- When you dine out, clean up your messes with your napkins and stack all of your dishes to make it easier for the busperson.
- Make a bunch of handmade “get well soon” cards (if you have kids, let them help). Take them to a local hospital and deliver them to the nurse’s station. Ask them to give them to people who don’t get any visitors.
- If you notice that one of your child’s teammates’ parents never make it to their games (and no judgment, they may work multiple jobs), become that child’s biggest cheerleader.
- Leave encouraging little notes in random places, like inside library books or bulletin boards.
- If you see a social media post about a missing person or pet, share it. Even if you don’t live nearby, someone else on your friend’s or followers list could.
- If you’re tall, help someone reach the top shelf in the grocery store. My friend is very short and she always appreciates it!
- If you have a better driveway than your neighbors, let their kids draw on it with sidewalk chalk.
- No neighborhood kids? Write uplifting messages yourself on your driveway!
- Leave positive comments on blog posts. I can tell you from experience that it really does mean a lot, even if I don’t reply to all of them.
- Keep inviting that anxious friend out, even if she always begs off or cancels. She appreciates that you never give up on her.
- Donate a nice outfit in good condition to an organization that helps the homeless find jobs.
- Help an injured friend care for their pet. Walk their dog, feed their cat, etc.
- Offer to watch your friend’s kids for free so they can have a few hours to themselves.
- Call up a close family member (your parents, grandparents, siblings, etc) just to say “I love you.”
- Make a “take a book, leave a book” box and leave it on your front porch or somewhere else that’s accessible to neighbors. Or, if that’s not possible, start a neighborhood book exchange.
- Let someone take that great parking spot you were planning to take yourself.
- Do someone else’s chores (your spouse’s, your coworker’s, even your child’s).
- Surprise someone with an “unbirthday” cake on a random day far from their actual birthday.
- Stand up for someone when others are gossiping about them.
- Brighten someone’s day with a corny joke. The cornier, the better!
- Offer to drive your friend to a doctor’s appointment, especially if it’s one they’re worried about.
- Let someone else have the last of something.
- Help a friend pack or unpack before or after a move.
- Walk in a fundraising marathon. If you can’t physically do that, volunteer at the event instead.
- Tape a note up in a dressing room saying “You look amazing!!”
- Feed the birds!
- Be someone’s secret admirer!
- Clean off someone’s car after it snows.
- Reconnect with an old friend, especially if you hear that they’ve been having a rough time.
- Always assume the best of people, at least until they prove otherwise.
- Admit to your mistakes and apologize when you’re wrong.
- Take care of yourself! You can’t do good deeds for others if you’re not caring for your own needs.
- Just give someone a genuine smile! Sometimes that’s enough to brighten their day.
30 Small Good Deeds That Cost Very Little Money
- Give a larger tip than usual. Even an extra dollar or two can make a difference.
- Put money in a parking meter.
- Start a “lunch money” fund at your child’s school to pay for lunch for kids who can’t afford it.
- If you see a child selling lemonade, stop and buy a cup.
- Plant a tree in someone’s memory (you probably have to buy the sapling, which is why I put it in this section).
- If you shop at Aldi’s, leave your quarter in your cart coin slot.
- Buy and keep a bunch of spare umbrellas in your car to give to people who need them.
- Leave your spare change in the vending machine for the next person.
- Make an “emergency supplies” bin filled with things like baby wipes, tissues, period necessities, plastic baggies, and so on. Keep it in your car so you can give them to someone who needs them.
- If you see a neighbor struggling to shovel their driveway and you’re having yours plowed, pay to have theirs done, too.
- Buy craft supplies for a nursing home.
- If you’re sharing an Uber or cab with someone, surprise them by paying for the whole thing.
- Drop some coins into the machines at your local laundromat.
- Leave dollar bills in random places where people can find them.
- Every child deserves brand-new books to call their own. Buy a few to donate to organizations like Head Start.
- Buy some coloring books and crayons to donate to a children’s hospital.
- Everyone donates money during the holidays. Make your donation for one of the many slower months, like April or August.
- Surprise a friend by getting them something off their Amazon wish list.
- Pay for a bus pass for someone that you know is struggling to make ends meet.
- Pay for your child’s friend to come with you to an amusement park (especially if you know their parents could never afford it on their own).
- Buy new stuffed animals and donate them to foster care organizations so that every child has their own to take with them to a new home. Check with the rules, though. You may need to have them delivered straight from the store.
- Surprise your coworkers with coffee one morning.
- Donate your sick days to a coworker who desperately needs them.
- Organize a neighborhood block party (this one could cost you nothing depending on the activities you choose to include, but it usually ends up costing at least a little bit of money).
- Hand out cold water on a hot day.
- Teachers spend A LOT of their own money on classroom supplies, so send your kids back to school with gift cards for them.
- Better yet, call up their teachers ahead of time and ask what you can buy for the classroom to ease their burden.
- Some schools let parents buy special snack surprises for the classroom on their kids’ birthdays. Most kids don’t realize that this costs money, so they’re heartbroken when they don’t get the surprise on their big day, which in turn makes their parents feel horrible. So, set up a “birthday surprise fund” with a teacher to cover the parents that just can’t afford it.
- Sponsor a whole family for the holidays rather than just the kids. Adults deserve holiday cheer, too.
- Treat the homeless with dignity. If you’re willing to help them, don’t attach strings or caveats to your assistance, or demand that you watch them use it to buy food. Just give them the cash and let them decide how to spend it.
See, it doesn’t take much effort to do good deeds! Even the smallest act of kindness– something as tiny as a smile when someone needs it the most- can help change the world. So never feel like you can’t possibly do enough to make a difference. Everyone trying their hardest and doing what they can is all it takes to create a bright future.
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