Jobs That Make a Difference: Doing Good Better

Friday, December 21, 2018

How often do you donate? It’s a good thing if you give a part of your income and help others on a regular basis. But, have you ever thought if you are making a difference. While you can find many philanthropists around, those whose help – make an impact – are the real blessed lot. No, I am not doubting your efforts but are you taking up jobs that make a difference?

There are many ways to do charity, and you have to plan your preferred ways to maximize the effect. After all, resources are limited and the demands, high.

Instead of investing your precious time and money on helping others, you should go for strategic philanthropy. William MacAskill, a Scottish philosopher, in his book – Doing Good Better – explains the ways to achieve effective altruism. It is how to make better use of your help. Charity is not always about money or working with an NGO, right?

Listen to the summary at Blinkist or listen to the book at Audible.

What is Effective Altruism?

An example of effective altruism would be a specialized doctor who decides to help animals with his skills.
An example of effective altruism would be a specialized doctor who decides to help animals with his skills.

If you want to help someone, you have to find out what someone needs. Giving shoes to those who need shelter won’t do much good, but if you donate them blankets that would be a better help.

This is what effective altruism or strategic philanthropy tries to achieve. It encourages people to make the best use of their talent and do jobs that help the environment in the best way.

The book helps you in understanding why you need jobs that make a difference by giving many strategic philanthropy examples. I would, here, quote one such example – a doctor who earned a name with a specialization in his field. 

Read more: The Altruistic Mentality

Can you imagine the alternate dimension where the future doctor left his studies and joined an NGO for jobs that help the environment and animals?

You do realise how different the outcome would have been. The doctor could have been helping people in need, but he can do that even now, and in a better way. Now, that brings me to our next topic – earning to give.

Earning to give

When you're absolutely sure that you want to earn to give, to chase effective altruism; choose your career wisely.
When you're absolutely sure that you want to earn to give, to chase effective altruism; choose your career wisely.

Consider the doctor from the above example. Now that he is a successful doctor, he can not only provide better monetary benefits to the needy but also help them live healthier. While many try to follow their passion for philanthropy, it isn’t always the best choice.

Choose your career, it comes first, specialize in your field and use your skills to provide benefits to the world. Not everyone loves doing charity, but you do, so why not do it in a better way?

Once you have your skills polished and are making a decent earning, you can not only aid them in projects but also lend a helping hand in their activities.

But don’t try helping if you’re unsure. It may lead to bitter consequences instead of something better.

Strategic Philanthropy

Help organizations using your expertise in a specific field to achieve strategic philanthropy.
Help organizations using your expertise in a specific field to achieve strategic philanthropy.

Before you decide where to put in your money, know all you can about the organizations who are trying to do jobs that make a difference. Not only have you to check how much they receive or which areas they serve but also how much they spend on people. 

You won’t like a large part of your money to go on overhead expenses, right? See all sides of the story before jumping in for someone’s help.

Someone is maybe donating all he or she received, on the needy while others may decide to spend a significant part on advertisements. 

But if their ads are bringing them more money and they spend it to help others, they also are working to make a difference.

And when they are doing so, why not help them in a better way using your expertise in a field. An engineer wouldn’t be the best choice for disaster training, that’s the work of a doctor.

Read more: What is pro bono consulting?

But you can impart them some digital education, and that would be a lot better than giving physical help in building a home. Many people can do that, but not all IT experts will teach them. 

You have the heart of a philanthropist… now, put your brain to work.

And this brings me to sweatshop goods – the goods prepared by low-paid workers.

Sweatshop goods vs. Fairtrade goods

Sweatshop workers often work in socially unacceptable conditions, and these are the jobs that make a difference.
Sweatshop workers often work in socially unacceptable conditions, and these are the jobs that make a difference.

While the Fairtrade products have better quality for sure, it’s the people with Sweatshop jobs that make a difference. Fairtrade places do give a better pay which in turns results in better wages, but they have to be at par with standards. Not everyone can afford that, at least not the poorest ones. They work hard to earn their living.

Read more: How "fair" is Fairtrade?

While the poorest ones are to get benefit in the Fairtrade system, only the able and developed people can maintain the standard of such products. Thus, the system can’t provide a lot of help to those who actually need it. Also, the people working in the Fairtrade system may or may not get all the benefits you are paying for.

Most of the money may end up in the pockets of the owner. So, be cautious of Fairtrade and give Sweatshop workers a chance to earn their living.


Therefore, do charity where it’s going to make an impact. A donation of $100 to someone lacking funds (like poverty-ridden people) is far better than donating to a relief fund which is overloaded. You being a doctor would be of more help in disaster relief teams than monetary support. Search, research and then make a decision.

Abhijeet Kumar a freelance content writer for aSabbatical.com
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.