So, for a moment, let’s remember how bad 2020 was for most people. People cried. People got sick. People died. Businesses collapsed. And so naturally, anxiety, depression, and mental illness increased. And yet, with all this chaos, people still went out to do good deeds. You don’t always need a lot of money to make someone else very happy. In this article, we’re going to share our list of good deeds that you can do for other people with no budget at all. With your help, we can spread kindness throughout the world with our actions to make 2021 a better year for all of us.
What Is A Good Deed?
A good deed is an action you take for the betterment of another person or society as a whole. However, good deeds need to be perceived as good even if the intent is positive. Otherwise, they may not be considered good deeds.
Can Good Deeds Be Seen Negatively?
When I moved into my new home, I decided to surprise my new neighbors with cupcakes. I knew that my new neighbor was a huge fan of baseball, so I ordered special baseball cupcakes for one and a beautiful floral bouquet of cupcakes for the other neighbor. A funny thing happened after that, though. One neighbor was upset I didn’t bake them but bought them. And the other neighbor was disappointed that she didn’t get anything for me in return. She felt like she was now indebted to me, which was in no way my intention, nor did the idea ever cross my mind.
Thus, good deeds need to be seen as good by the recipient. Otherwise, they don’t count. So you might need to do some trial and error while trying your best to make the world a better place.
A Good Deed Dies When It’s Spoken About
While sharing a good deed online can help spark kindness in others. Bragging about your good deeds takes away the essence of the action. Good deeds should be done out of love in your heart, rather than winning likes or views on Instagram or TikTok.
When doing a good deed, aim to do them secretly or at least privately if you can. For example, if you know someone in your family who struggles with depression, you might send them flowers to cheer them up. You can still sign that it’s from your family. However, if down the road you begin to struggle, and they don’t send you flowers back, this isn’t the time to brag about how you once did a good deed for them and now expect the same treatment back.
The best way to perform good deeds is to think to yourself, “How can I make someone happy today?” Their happiness is your reward for your good deed. After all, knowing that you made a positive impact on someone’s day can make you feel pretty good. Beyond that, there shouldn’t be an expectation of what you’ll get from doing good deeds.
52 Good Deed Ideas List
1. Wish Someone A Happy Birthday
A birthday is everyone’s most important day. It’s the one day in the year that’s all about them. Instead of ignoring a former acquaintance’s birthday, go out of your way to wish every Facebook friend a happy birthday on their special day this year. That’s a good deed that will make people feel special on their special day.
2. Congratulate Someone’s New Accomplishment
Often, we think, “oh, poor me” when someone has a significant accomplishment in life. You’ll get your turn, too, you know. But in the meantime, if you see someone having a big moment, help them celebrate. Use this week’s good deed to make them feel high about their new win. Whether it’s a life milestone or a career one, be sure to be vocal with your praise.
3. Check-In On A Friend With Mental Illness
One good deed you can do this week is check in on a friend with mental illness. The worse their mental health gets, the more hostile they become. The more aggressive they become, the more people tend to distance themselves from them. When people are struggling, they need all the support they can get. So, check-in, listen without giving advice, and be there for them.
4. Send A Surprise Thank You Card In The Mail
The next good deed idea to try is to send mail to a friend or family member without telling them. You can write a heartfelt letter as to why you love them, what you admire about them, or how you’ve grown because of them. If it’s near Valentine’s day, you can write a ‘reasons why I love you’ card. If no occasion is near, just writing a card thanking them for being in your life is enough. This good deed beats bills.
5. Invite a Lonely Friend Over For Coffee
Self-isolation can cause people to feel quite lonely. If you know a neighbor or a friend who is isolated, invite them over for a coffee. Feeling lonely can cause them to talk more than the average person. So, aim to be a good listener, asking questions to help them feel heard.
6. Volunteer Your Services
Everyone has a unique talent. What’s yours? Maybe you’re a savvy marketer or a social butterfly who can excite a crowd; either way, it’s time to put your skills to good use by doing the good deed of volunteering. Helping people is the number one cause of happiness. By finding time to help people this week, you’ll notice an elevated mood. So, this good deed idea comes with an additional benefit.
7. Cook Your Family’s Favorite Meal
So, we all know that kids and sometimes our partners can be picky eaters. This week indulge in it a bit. Cook your family their favorite meal this week. If your kids only eat chicken nuggets, head out to buy their favorite dipping sauce so they can eat their favorite treat in the best way imaginable.
8. Leave An I Love You Note for Family Members
Families rarely spend time together, even when stuck under the same roof. People often sit in front of their laptops or phones, fixated on their technology. Instead, they should be with those closest to them. To break people out of it, write a handwritten note telling each household member why you love them. Slip the note under their bedroom or office door to help make them feel special. If someone heads out the door to work or school, you can slip the message in a lunch bag.
There are countless forums where people share how they’re struggling. Instead of sharing what’s going wrong in life, be the person who shares their experience of how they overcame a big challenge in life. Doing this can help give people hope. By letting people know that there is a way out of their struggles, they’ll learn the tools and skills to get themselves out of the chaos.
10. Spend Time With Friends and Family
People are in either two extreme groups this year. They’ve either seen too much of their family or not enough of them. Either way, finding time to spend with friends and family is a great way to keep your social life active. After all, those with the happiest relationships live the longest. So, you too benefit from this good deed.
11. Buy a homeless person a warm meal
Often, there are homeless people outside of coffee shops or convenience stores. Take the time to buy some warm food for a homeless person the next time you drop by one. Ask them if they’d like anything to ensure you order them precisely what they’d like. Sometimes, they have pets that could also use some milk or water.
12. Donate used books to a library
So many people hoard books on bookshelves that they never get around to reading or read once and never reopen again. Libraries live on donations. Donating your books can be a great way to help libraries save money on book costs. They might also sell your books to help fundraise for computers, printers, and property costs. Libraries are one of the only genuinely free places people can visit, so this good deed truly supports people of all walks of life.
13. Avoid gossiping for an entire week
One of the good deeds you can do to be kind is to avoid gossip to others and about others. If you struggle to keep secrets to yourself, consider telling them to a pet when no one is around. Have them listen to the gossip because at least they won’t spread the hatefulness to others. Gossip can be subtle sometimes, but all cases put people down instead of uplifting them.
14. Write a positive review for your favorite small businesses
Small businesses have suffered a lot in the past year. If you’re considering a good deed you can do for free, write a positive review about the companies you’ve been to and loved. Is there a restaurant you’ve always visit? Write a lengthy review of what your favorite meal is, why you’ve loved the experience, and add a five-star rating.
15. Let someone go ahead of you in line
Lineups have increased in waiting times the past year. If you’ve got some spare time in your day, consider letting someone ahead of you in line to help them have a more efficient day. You never know how busy other people’s schedules are. This simple act of loving-kindness can help other people feel appreciated and valued.
16. Donate gently worn clothing to charity
Some people donate gently worn clothes for every new item they buy. Others donate unwanted clothing that they’ve outgrown or haven’t worn in a long time. If you’re looking to help a cause, your used clothing donations might be used to help fundraise for a charity or are donated to someone in need. You might personally know a new parent who is struggling financially and donate your children’s clothing to them to help support them.
17. Shovel a neighbors driveway for free
You might have an elderly neighbor or two who find it challenging to shovel snow. Consider asking your children to join you in a good deed to help them. Every time there’s a bit of snowfall, join together to help shovel your neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk.
18. Compliment someone so much that they smile
So many people think that being honest means criticizing someone. But you can also be open to someone by praising them. When was the last time you compliment-bombed someone? That means an endless string of compliments back to back to uplift someone. Have you ever complimented someone so much that they laughed or smiled? Try it. It’s a game-changing good deed to try.
19. Join a friend who’s considering a new good habit
Another good deed idea to try is joining in with a friend who’s starting a new good habit. Maybe their doctor told them to try keto to help with fertility, or they’ve started walking every day to get more steps in. The most successful habit adopters are those who have someone joining in with them. So be their biggest ally by taking part in their newly formed habit with them. They’ll surely appreciate it.
A Few More Good Deeds to Try
20. Listen to someone who’s had a bad day without giving advice
21. Clean up your local park or lakeshore
22. Help someone find a job
23. Support a friend’s business
24. Buy a coffee for the person behind you
25. Get to know a coworker
26. Mow a neighbor’s lawn
27. Care for an animal
28. Help with chores without being asked
29. Call your parents daily
30. Surprise someone with cake
31. Leave a positive comment in a Facebook group
32. Talk to a coworker you usually don’t chat with
33. Tell someone who’s helped you how grateful you are for them
34. Forgive someone who hurt you
35. Be extra kind to someone who triggers you
36. Reward someone for doing an act of kindness
37. Plant a tree
38. Chat up a homeless person
39. Leave a note in your favorite book at the library
40. Surprise someone you love with a gift
41. Video chat with a family member in a nursing home
42. Check in on a new mom
43. Donate blood
44. Change a negative trait you have to become a better person
45. Call up lonely family members
46. Make environmentally conscious choices
47. Hold the door open for someone
48. Help a friend with their errands
49. Spend phoneless time with friends and family
50. Donate children’s toys and clothes to expectant parents
51. Don’t complain for a whole week
52. Help a family member or friend enjoy a relaxing day