As a kid, I asked myself “What’s the quickest way to save the world?” I dreamed of ending world hunger, housing the homeless and protecting the environment all before dinner. I even kept a long list of things I would do after I saved the world (like building a massive water slide down Mt. Whitney). If only it were that simple.
Then I got older and actually began working within the problems that kept me up at night, learning how complex these issues could be. I collaborated with nonprofits, attended events, listened to speeches, read books and started a social justice organization of my own. I witnessed the power an individual can hold in making change, but also realized that just one person could never save the world. To even make a dent in this massive feat, we’d need all hands and minds on deck.
Faced with the reality that I can’t save the world by myself, I decided to start small. I set out to find a place where I could make an impact I felt satisfied with (and still pay rent). In my second year of college, my professor connected me with two entrepreneurs whose ideas allowed me to do just that. They wanted to save the world, too, and pinpointed an important place to begin.
Their idea, called give&score, paired young people (like me) in need of work experience with nonprofit organizations in need of skilled help on projects. It sounded like such an obvious connection; I couldn’t figure out why something like this didn’t already exist. I’d already seen firsthand how under-resourced nonprofits can be. Plus, the unmet need for grant research, a logo or a marketing campaign can impair a nonprofit’s ability to grow. I’d also seen countless peers struggle to establish themselves professionally.
In exchange for time and talent, give&score offered its volunteers life-changing resources and rewards. The founders dreamed of a world where young graduates could use their skills altruistically on their way to professional success. I wanted to become a part of the vision and see it realized.
I began volunteering for give&score and immediately felt impressed with the small but meaningful impact I made on nonprofits. The nonprofits kept asking how I could get more involved, and eventually, give&score answered that question. Months of hard work later, give&score offered me a job working to support its nonprofits and volunteers.
When I began digging my hands in and talking with people, the true impact of what we were building hit me. Over a million nonprofits exist in the United States alone, and I had the opportunity to help all of them with this job. Our volunteers get the same opportunity; they can complete projects for as many organizations as they want while getting closer to achieving their own career goals. I’ve met countless inspiring people who work hard every day to “save the world.”
I may not be a superhero (yet), but I’m making a difference, paying rent and doing something that makes me excited to wake up in the morning.
So what’s the secret to finding your perfect career? You know, one that seems like a meaningful way to spend 40+ hours a week. Work hard and pursue every opportunity that arises to its fullest. Ask yourself “How can I do more and be better?” Do what feels right, even if you’re just volunteering at first. Success doesn’t always come in the way you imagined it would, and it usually doesn’t happen before dinner.
Millions of opportunities exist out there, with brilliant minds behind them striving for the same goals as you. You just need to get out there and find them.