When things go awry for someone you love, it can be hard to know just how to help. Don’t let fear of saying or doing the wrong thing prevent you from taking action. It’s important to remember that some gesture, whether big or small, is better than doing nothing at all.
If you find yourself unsure of how you can lend a hand in a time of need, start by envisioning what you might find helpful if you ever found yourself in the same situation. Also take into account special circumstances that may hinder delivering on that need and seek alternatives. For example, a child fighting a severe illness may be desperately missing friends from school, but visitors are limited due to his compromised immune system. Your answer for taking action: work with the child’s teacher and have classmates make cards or funny videos you can share.
Overcoming emotion and channeling that energy into action can be a challenge when times are tough, but these ideas will help give you the inspiration to get started:
Acknowledgement. Sometimes the greatest help can be hearing that you’re not alone. A simple call or a card letting your loved one know that you’re thinking of them is a small but important gesture in a time of need. Not knowing what to say or fear that talking about it will bring more pain keeps many people quiet in the face of tragedy. A support system that helps chase away a sense of isolation is important.
Crowdsourcing. Relying on the vastness of social media is a smart strategy for gaining financial support, whether it’s helping defray expenses or raising funds in honor of a special person or cause. For example, iPads from Isaac, a crowdsourcing campaign through Move Your Mountain, has raised more than $10,000 in a little over six months to fund iPads for non-verbal children like Isaac, who passed away at the age of 7. Choosing the right platform can help ensure the success of your campaign. Move Your Mountain offers mentors to support new users via email and live chat, helping tell a compelling story and even select impactful photos and videos. The service also offers the lowest fees currently available with no campaign time limits. Learn more at moveyourmountain.org.
Donations. When casseroles have been delivered, cards sent and other immediate needs seen to, you may find yourself asking what next. That’s when a thoughtful gesture such as donating your time, money or things to a related charity is sure to be appreciated. Your contributions may or may not directly affect the individual you’re acting on behalf of, but the show of support sends a strong message.
Gifting differently. If you have a gifting occasion on the horizon, take advantage of the opportunity. Ask others to forego the gifts they may have sent you, and instead direct those resources to your loved one in need, whether in the form of money or items they need, such as books, new pajamas or a cozy blanket. On the flip side, if you’re the one giving, let your recipient know a contribution has been made in his or her name and share some information about the cause in a thoughtful card.
Stress relief. When crises occur, day-to-day concerns get pushed aside. But over time, worries such as lawn care and household chores can wear on caregivers and injured or ill individuals alike. Work together to create a task list, then enlist help from others to tackle the list and eliminate unnecessary stress.
When bad things happen, it’s natural to feel helpless. Taking charge and taking action can help you constructively manage through a time of need, encourage others to do the same and make a meaningful difference in your community.