I’m pretty notorious for being anti-charity, for the most part. I am very suspicious of the amount of money spent on converting donor dollars to recipient works and cynical about the salaries of administrators and fundraising campaigns. But I do believe in giving back to others. How do I make it work?
Well, I try to focus on what I can do to have a direct impact on others. I would rather have a positive impact on one person than donate money to an organization and watch that money get whittled down before finally trickling down into ground level projects. As a result, Brian and I try to volunteer for causes that we believe in.
In the past, I’ve volunteered for the Vancouver Aquarium, whose research efforts have recently helped to repopulate the Salish Sea with native marine mammals; the Avalon Country Fair, which supported local and often organic growing practices right in the middle of Vancouver; and the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, which has some incredible displays and programs highlighting past and present diversity in the natural world. This Saturday, May 5, I’m volunteering at the local library as a “Human Book”. This is a program that introduces library visitors to different or unusual career paths using volunteers who are willing to talk about their jobs. That’s where I come in! My topic? Mystery shopping!
I’m actually really excited about this venture. I’ve been a mystery shopper for a few years now and I love it. The first part I want to share with people is that mystery shopping is a lot of fun. I think it’s going to be cool to talk to people about the job, tell some stories and maybe dispel some myths.
At the same time, I’m going to really try to encourage people to branch out into “weird jobs” like mystery shopping as a great way to earn extra income and enjoy perks like free meals. I really do think that a side gig like mystery shopping or selling glowsticks at special events could mean the world to someone on a limited budget. Imagine a couple just getting by on minimum wage jobs – how great would it be to have a free dinner at a steakhouse once in a while?
In the end, I just hope that I’ll be able to share some information that people will find useful. Wish me luck!