Choosing a project to help

How do I choose a project To support?

This was a significant question for Jackie and me back in 1995 when we decided we would do something to help others in this world. 

Early in the process, we looked at the possibility of running AIDS orphanages in Africa. We contacted a good friend who worked at the World Bank and she indicated that her office was running personal projects for AIDS orphans.

We took a look at their vision and accounts and thought it was a positive direction to head in. 

Then, in 2008, I participated in a motorbike race through South Africa. We ventured for several days through a beautiful region called the Transkei. It was incredibly poor and on one particular day I was moved by the story of a village we were in that had lost more than 100 young children due to dysentery in the previous few months.

That was when we both realized that we could continue to plan to help orphans in homes, but there was a significant chance they would die from water borne disease or dirty water.

On your personal journey, you have to be able to engage with a problem and corresponding solution to passionately devote time and resources to solving the problems you take to heart. Whether at home or abroad there are no shortage of issues to dig into. 

It is definitely worth taking a short vacation to take a look at a group that are doing work in that specific area so you can research the problem, but also one of the solution providers that you may be able to get behind. 

Several years ago, the UN created the Millennium Development Goals. The graphic above shows you all the areas that are important to eventually solving poverty around the world. 

Having gone through the process of identifying a problem and subsequently starting a charity I would absolutely recommend the following process:

  • Identify an area that you can get passionate about and where your skills may add some value.
  • Do some research and reach out to people and organizations working in that specific area.
  • Talk to friends and contacts to see if there is common engagement in the problem. This will help you understand the challenges with creating awareness for the issues
  • Invest in visiting an organization or two that work on that issue 
  • Once you have found the issue, take time to evaluate how best you can add value to the cause. Perhaps the option of working in the sector with an NGO or simply assisting in fundraising might appeal to you. At the end of the day you may decide to start your own charity or non-profit so that you can control the result of your hard work and efforts. 
  • After your decision you will likely not get much time to sit back and smell the roses, but you will know that you are one of very few people in the world who have tacitly decided to make a positive difference. That will help you sleep well at night.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for more than 40 years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business.

He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the U.K. in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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