Feeling inspired? You can turn compassion into action with GoFundMe

Nahla-Rose Bartlett-Vanderpuye, eight, using a 3D printer to make visors for NHS workers It only

Nahla-Rose Bartlett-Vanderpuye, eight, using a 3D printer to make visors for NHS workers
Nahla-Rose Bartlett-Vanderpuye, eight, using a 3D printer to make visors for NHS workers

It only takes a few seconds to change someone’s life. Whether it’s starting a fundraising page that goes on to raise thousands for the NHS, or creating a Facebook group filled with ideas to help parents through lockdown, you can create change – fast.

Our high-tech world has allowed us to track the devastation caused by Covid-19. It has also enabled millions of us to work together to help those at the heart of the pandemic.

We’re talking about the social media which allowed Syrian refugee Hassan Akkad’s plea for more support for migrant NHS workers to go viral, and force the government into a U-turn. And we’re talking about the online fundraising that allowed eight-year-old Nahla-Rose to create PPE for medics using her grandmother’s 3D printer, and donate it to her local hospital.

They’re just two of the heroes introduced in this year’s Happy List, which is honouring 50 individuals who have done remarkable things during the coronavirus crisis.

Every single person included on the Happy List has done something special, inspiring and worth celebrating. We are delighted to be associated with them, and hope reading their stories can make your day a little happier – even in these uncertain times. But if you’re reading this year’s list and feeling like you could never do the same, we want you to know that you are capable of changing the world.

Behind every hero and every viral campaign is an army of supporters. Whether it is by donating, sharing a link, sharing your time, or just sharing an idea, you can make a difference.

At a time when so many of us have been so badly affected by the pandemic, many have also contributed to projects to help one another, and the NHS and care workers fighting to save lives.

It doesn’t have to be difficult. If anything, the easier an idea is to explain, the more likely it is to go viral. Take Jill Orr, who started a GoFundMe with one simple concept: to show community support for hospital workers by buying them a coffee. Jill has now raised more than £43,000 and as well as coffee donated 6,000 doughnuts; 4,400 brioche; 1,082 boxes of fruit and vegetables; 1,200 flapjacks; 1,600 sausage rolls and “endless amounts of support and love” for workers at King’s College Hospital.

Jill’s campaign was inspired by successful GoFundMe fundraisers in many Australian cities, and led to a similar fundraiser in the Netherlands and for another London hospital.

The point of platforms such as GoFundMe is to make it easier for people to take action and turn their compassion into something material – or in the case of some campaigns to make scrubs for NHS workers, actual materials.

We talk about change in incremental terms because it’s important to know that there isn’t a barrier to involvement. The only choice you need to make is when to start. We hope we’ve inspired you to start now, and maybe we’ll be writing about you on next year’s Happy List.

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