Christiana Mbazigwe, Duric Business Solutions, Toronto, ON, CYBF Mentor

There are many ways you can do good in your community and make some money at the same time. The secret is to look out for the needs of people in your community and go about meeting those needs to best of your ability. Do some environmental scanning of your surroundings. Observe the needs and wants, think creatively about how to meet people’s needs and at the same time charge them something for your efforts and time. You may wish to offer them some free services the first time and charge a fee for subsequent requests.

It’s important for you to build a network of contacts within your community, know who does what so that you can offer referral or information services and earn income from doing that. Who you know may open up a window of opportunity in future. I call this Opportunity Marketing (OM) or Information Brokerage (IB).This can eventually turn to a good business for you.

You can research and discover an opportunity to distribute in-demand items (e.g. free computers to low-income individuals and families). I know a fellow who advertised such opportunities in his community and this later generated demand for used computers. Also, you can help people get rid of their waste, like old newspapers and magazines. You will be supporting environmental clean-up and at the same time, make money selling the papers to recycling companies who use them for other purposes. Initiate a community development project and get compensated for your efforts through grants or sponsorships.

You can also provide individuals with limited means who need help in your area of expertise or skill with free or minimally-priced information, goods or services. You’ll make a difference to them and at the same time help yourself. It’s about the principle of helping others to help yourself or giving and receiving. It’s as simple as that. To me, volunteering to help others in the community can be a great investment opportunity that can provide countless monetary or non-monetary returns. I’ve experienced it. Doing good and making money is possible.