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Make a difference: A how-to guide to helping others and changing the world

Here’s our ultimate list of things you can do today to make a difference and help change the world for the better.

Ideas for how to make a difference and help others

Life isn’t about possessions and accomplishments. It’s about what you’ve done with those things – what you have given back. It’s about caring enough for others and seizing the opportunity when you have the chance to do some good.

So, how can you help? Here's some inspiration:

Donate pre-loved clothes to charity

1. Give away your pre-loved clothes

Got some clothes, shoes and accessories you no longer wear? We’d love them. If they’re in good condition, something you would give a friend, we can sell them in our op shops. The money raised will fund our work helping people in crisis in Australia and overseas.

Plus, donating your clothes means less stuff ends up in landfill. Drop your clothes at any one of our 160+ shops. If you don’t want to donate you can always shop at our stores and support our work in that way instead.

Two men raising funds for Australian Red Cross by racing

2. Use your talents to stage your own fundraiser

Love to run? Are you a baking ninja? Turn your passion and organisational skills into a fundraiser. Register your event and we will supply you with the tools and tips you need to help make your event a success. The money you raise for us will go to support our programs helping others in need around the world.

Bookmark this page to learn out about current fundraisers you can join. We also have annual events like the October Big Cake Bake and Red Cross Calling in March, so plan ahead and get involved.

Men wearing t-shirts to raise awareness of beating loneliness

3. Advocate for a cause

Are you passionate about a specific issue and want to make a difference? These are the humanitarian problems we’re currently advocating on and we would love your help:

  • Loneliness – It affects lots of people, but one strong connection can be enough to beat it. Reach out to someone who is lonely, invite them out to an activity, a course or a meal. Check out our recent #beatloneliness project – which hundreds of teams all over the country joined. 
  • Refugees and asylum seekers – Every year millions of people flee war, conflict and persecution in search of safety – some of them end up in Australia. Here are a few ideas about how to help refugees and asylum seekers feel welcome. Plus, bust some of the myths with our 13 facts everyone should know. We also have a special crisis appeal to help the most vulnerable.

There are not-for-profit organisations working on all sorts of issues – from the protection of endangered wildlife to gender equality. Find a cause you care about.

Australian Red Cross First Aid app

4. Learn to save lives

Knowing what to do if someone is having a seizure, stroke or heart attack could help you save a life one day. We run first aid courses all over Australia, find a class near you. Plus check out our first aid app, a free handy guide you can use anytime.

Social media apps on a smart phone

5. Share the messages

Here’s a super quick way to help. Go to your favourite social media platform, follow a charity working on a cause you love, take part in the conversation and share their post. You’ll find Australian Red Cross on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Help us get our news in front of thousands more people than we ever could reach on our own. Likes might not save the world, but added together when lots people are sharing the same message big things are possible. Bonus points – put a reminder in your phone calendar and do this once a week.

Woman volunteering through the Australian Red Cross

6. Volunteer

Most Australians say they want to help and there’s lots of practical ways you can. Check out our current volunteering vacancies – we regularly update this list, which includes roles all over Australia.

Positions range from spots on our on-call emergency roster to visiting elderly folks in need of company.

Woman smiling while making coffee at a cafe

7. Be a friendly face

Change someone’s day with a nod, a smile, a hello or checking things are okay. Familiar faces – on your street, your commute or in line at your local café – can make you feel more connected and safe.

Plus, in an emergency those familiar faces may be the ones you turn to first.

Piggy bank for charity donations

8. Give to a cause close to your heart

Every single donation helps make a difference. These are our current crisis appeals:

  • Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Crisis in Australia – Help provide vital support, such as food and housing, to people who have limited access to basic essentials.
  • Disaster Relief and Recovery – Support our specialist emergency teams as they respond to disasters, such as bushfires, cyclones and earthquakes, in Australia and overseas.
  • Syria – The people of Syria have lived through seven years of conflict and it is far from over. Help them get the medical care, shelter and food they need to survive.
  • Myanmar - Over 670,000 people have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh in search of safety, in the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis. Support our teams helping people on both sides of the border.
  • East Africa – Over 15 million people in East Africa are facing disease and starvation. Support us to deliver food, truck in clean water and get healthcare and medicines to people in need.

You can also become a Humanitarian Champion and make a automatic monthly donation. Or you can make a one-off donation which we will use where it's needed most.

Blood bag after a donation with a heart symbol

9. Donate your blood

It takes an hour to donate blood and every donation can help save three lives. You may be able to donate whole blood, plasma or platelets depending on your blood type. Make an appointment today – lots of donor centres are open after hours and on weekends. Every drop counts.

Woman working outside on her computer

10 Be kind online

Use your social media and online networks to do good. There are lots of people struggling with day-to-day life – loneliness and isolation are common problems. If you see someone posting online who seems to be struggling to cope or looks like they could use some support – reach out. Some great places that can help people are Lifeline and beyondblue. Because everyone should feel like they belong.

We hope you find something on the list that works for you. Never forget that, added together, lots of people regularly doing small things like this has big impact.

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