Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead, US anthropologist (1901 – 1978)  

The future will only be as bright as our willingness to help others.  Helping others means valuing their needs as much or more than our own.  This is the spirit behind volunteering, and how anyone can make a difference.

Making a difference is not the same as making money, being successful, or getting ahead in any other way.   Making a difference is about changing lives, outcomes, or in exceptional cases the world.

Any change we want to make, will require that we nurture and grow this desire to make a difference.  We won’t get motivated, stay motivated, or be capable of inspiring others without this desire.

One occasion where I saw all these things come together was while volunteering in San Francisco.  I was part of a group working in conjunction with the administration of Mayor Willie Brown.

I learned five things from that experience, and believe anyone who implements them can make a difference in their community–maybe the world.

  1. Passion – select a cause which stirs your emotions
  2. Connection – volunteer with people you love
  3. Touch  – have close and regular contact with the people in need
  4.  Ambition – think big, start small, stay with it, and watch it grow
  5. Youth – get and keep the young involved or your effort will die