Pay it forward for a better future

April 28 is Pay it Forward Day, so we've put together some great ideas on how you can get in on the action

Pay It Forward Day is all about doing something for someone else, being a bit selfless, and trying to consider the greater good.

While ideally these are things that we think more often than just one day a year, having an official day makes it easier to raise awareness about why it's so important for people to work together to sustain a community of giving.

On Pay it Forward Day you're challenge to do 1-3 good deeds for another person, without asking anything in return, and if someone offers you something, instead ask them to pass on the generosity (paying it forward).

Here are some examples to get your ideas flowing:

  • Give your umbrella (if it's raining) to someone who might need it more than you
  • Offer to mow your elderly neighbour's lawn
  • Buy some food or drink for a homeless person (or even better, sit down together to enjoy some lunch)
  • Shout your friend a coffee to remind them that you appreciate them

Pay It Forward Day is also a great opportunity to demonstrate some planet-strong initiatives: what better way to pay it forward than to preserve the planet for future generations?

Here are some nature-loving ideas for passing on the goodness of paying it forward:

Leaving-No-Trace Camping

It's easy to leave things behind when you go camping. Whether it's some rubbish or a piece of clothing, it's good to make sure you never leave anything behind you, as your litter can have a negative impact on the environment.

Pay it forward by leaving the camping site in the same beautiful and natural state that you found it in so the next group can enjoy it too. Hopefully, they will follow your example and do the same.

If you're camping with children, educate them about the importance of disposing of rubbish thoughtfully, and praise them for doing their bit. With a bit of luck, you can pay it forward to the next generation!

Read more about teaching young people about the environment


Donating is the easiest way to pay it forward. We often donate knowing that there is no reward for our generosity. Whether you're donating time, money or material items, someone in the world is always better off for you having spared the things you don't need.

Check out these items that you can donate to animal shelters in your area

Educate yourself about the pros and cons of donating to charity

1 Million Women is empowering women and girls around the world to lower their impact on the planet. If you love what we do, please support our work by donating a couple of dollars. For the price of a cuppa, you can help us inspire millions more! (click to donate)

Start a community garden

Whenever I walk to Coogee beach in Sydney, I always stop to admire one of the best community gardens I've seen here in the city. The locals got together and decided to plant vegetables and fruits, and just let anyone come along and treat themselves to the produce. The only catch is, you need to plant something to take something. This is a brilliant way to pay it forward. Planting a community garden ensures that families will benefit from it in the future, and hopefully follow your lead!

This homeless shelter in Atlanta has its own organic garden, which helps to feed its residents

Vietnam's Farming Kindergarten will make you want to be a 6-year-old again

Five permaculture principles to help you start your garden

Join the sharing economy and get the joy of giving

Sharing is a wonderful way to pay it forward. Slash the amount of stuff you're sending to the tip by first trying to rehome your preloved goods. Websites such as Gumtree (for Australians) and Freecycle can be a great way to do this, otherwise donate to local charities or community organisations. It could just make someones day, and will also reduce the strain on our planet caused by overconsumption.

More ways to join the sharing economy

Learn all about land-sharing

Some great reads to get you thinking about sharing


Whether you're picking up rubbish on the beach or assisting at a homeless shelter, the helping hand is always needed. You will feel great for doing your bit to help those less fortunate than you, and you will walk away more appreciative of the things you have in life. But more importantly, the people/environment will be better off because of your generosity. You can even volunteer with 1 Million Women!

How are you going to pay it forward? Let us know in the comments below!

Read this next: Meet the inspiring people who live with almost no possessions

...OR THIS: 7 simple tips for minimalist living

Images: Shutterstock

1 Million Women is more than our name, it's our goal! We're building a movement of strong, inspirational women acting on climate change by leading low-carbon lives. To make sure that our message has an impact, we need more women adding their voice. We need to be louder. Joining us online means your voice and actions can be counted. We need you.

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