104 Acts of Compassion You Can Do Any Day

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Being kind doesn’t have to take a ton of effort or money, but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest to come up with ideas for showing compassion. Every act of compassion has a ripple effect in the world, and there are endless ways to show kindness. 

Everyone is currently going through something in life and even the smallest act of compassion can make a significant difference for them and their mental health. The truth is, the world needs more generosity and love. Sure, it sounds cheesy and cliche, but it’s the truth. 

Think about the last time someone unexpectedly did something kind or generous for you. Chances are, that gesture made an impact on you on some level. If you want to have a similar impact on someone else’s life whether you know them or they’re a stranger, here are 104 acts of compassion to help you do that.

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104 Acts of Compassion and Kindness to Be the Change You Want to See

Whether you want to pay it forward, host a fundraiser, or give anonymously, these are 104 acts of compassion and kindness that you can do to facilitate change. 

1. Pay for someone in line at the drive-through or coffee shop

2. Hold the door open for someone

3. Compliment somebody out of the blue

4. Comment kind and uplifting things on social media posts

5. Pick up litter

6. Offer to return a shopper’s cart for them

7. Tip more than the minimum

8. Help your partner with something even if they don’t ask

9. Send a care package to a new parent (or someone who just had another kid because each new baby comes with challenges)

10. Give a gift card, clothes, food, or toys to foster parents and kids

11. Volunteer at a nursing home, homeless or domestic violence shelter, or animal center

12. Message someone with an encouraging message (even if you don’t know them or their struggles very well)

13. Smile at anyone (and everyone!) 

14. Pre Pray for someone’s gas

15. Buy a gift certificate/gift card for someone (even a stranger)

16. Buy breakfast or lunch for your coworkers 

17. Send a thank you note or gift to a teacher (or police officer, firefighter, CNA, etc.) even if it’s not a special holiday

18. Leave extra change in a vending machine

19. Practice mindful listening next time someone talks to you (even if what they’re saying doesn’t seem very important)

20. Leave books in a mailbox library

21. Donate to a nonprofit or volunteer your time

22. Leave positive reviews about local businesses and share them on social media

23. Donate blood or plasma

24. Cheer for someone in a marathon even if you don’t know them

25. Avoid engaging in gossip or humiliating someone

26. Read to residents in a nursing home or patients in hospice

27. Send flowers to the loved ones at a funeral (even if you don’t know them)

28. Donate your unused items (clothes, shoes, home decor, etc.)

29. Buy lunch for someone who is homeless or in a shelter

30. Send someone a random ‘thinking of you’ gift

31. Thank someone who previously helped you

32. Buy a cashier their favorite snack while you’re checking out

33. Put coins in expired meters

34. Buy an extra bus fare for the next person

35. Sponsor a child in need (in any country)

36. Put loving and encouraging notes in your child’s or partner’s lunches

37. Give someone your undivided attention 

38. Leave a thank you note or gift card for delivery drivers and postal workers

39. Send a care package or card to a soldier

40. Adopt or sponsor adoption fees for an animal who’s been rescued

41. Donate food and toys to an animal shelter

42. Leave a kind message or donation on someone’s Go Fund Me fundraiser

43. Fund someone’s Kickstarter campaign and share it 

44. Sign petitions that matter to you and make a difference

45. Support your friends and family who have their own businesses

46. Help a student pay for their books or tuition

47. Buy lunch for a group of workers at a nursing home, hospital, store, and so on

48. Offer to help someone pay for their rent or utility bill, especially if they’re elderly or have kids

49. Buy a teacher a gift card for school supplies (and for themselves)

50. Sponsor lunches at a school (or offer to pay lunch fees)

51. Leave random and kind messages on rocks, sidewalks, and so forth

52. Hang up “take what you need” posters

53. Leave numbers to suicide hotlines and support groups on posters and hang in public places (along with an encouraging message)

54. Donate toys and comforting items to kids in the hospital

55. Give gift cards and coupons to parents and families of the sick or dying

56. Use eco-friendly alternatives 

57. Buy something that’s fair trade

58. Donate feminine hygiene products to schools, women’s shelters, and homeless shelters

59. Leave kind bookmarks or notes in library books

60. Plant a tree 

61. Take photos of someone with their loved ones (and share with them)

62. Foster a child

63. Adopt or foster a pet

64. Become a CASA volunteer

65. Donate your hair to a charity

66. Leave encouraging notes on seats and random places (using sticky notes or index cards)

67. Gift magazines to local doctor’s offices

68. Make a homemade thoughtful gift for someone

69. Let someone go in front of you in traffic or in line at the store

70. Make or buy dinner for someone who just lost a loved one

71. Help clean up at a family gathering (without being asked to)

72. Buy Christmas and birthday gifts for kids in foster care and underprivileged families

73. Write encouraging notes and hand-deliver them to someone in the hospital or anyone going through a difficult time

74. Shovel someone’s sidewalk or driveway

75. Participate in a fundraiser

76. Sponsor a duffle bag for kids in foster care with Together We Rise

77. Help raise awareness about mental health

78. Put out shelter for stray animals

79. Learn a different language and ASL to communicate with others in their own language

80. Pay someone’s library fees

81. Make time for loved ones without being asked (and do what they want to do)

82. Return someone’s cart for them

83. Tell a loved one that you love them (and why)

84. Donate school supplies with a charity like Pack-A-Backpack

85. Feed stray animals

86. Sincerely thank someone you for being themselves (and share how they make a difference in your life)

87. Read to kids during storytime at a library 

88. Pay the toll for another car in line

89. Give up your seat for someone else

90. Say something encouraging to a parent in public (especially if they’re struggling with their kids)

91. Donate flowers to a nursing home or hospital patients

92. Talk to someone who is alone

93. Walk dogs or play with animals in an animal shelter

94. Volunteer as a “Grandma Cuddler” and comfort babies in NICU

95. Donate your old glasses

96. Recycle 

97. Buy from a small business instead of a corporate one

98. Put together a donation drive for a cause you care about and one that your community needs

99. Give someone a hug

100. Write someone a love letter with More Love Letters

101. Give to those in need with Pack-A-Bag

102. Apologize to someone you hurt (and ask how you can do better next time)

103. Pay for someone’s therapy/counseling

104. Most importantly…be kind and compassionate with yourself

These are just some of the endless acts of compassion that you can show someone, whether you know them personally or not. Some require your time, while others require money. Pick a couple that feel genuine to you and start spreading some love and compassion around!

There are so many ways you can be a better person, but it all starts with showing yourself some love every day first, so always start with yourself.

And don’t forget that everyone can benefit from some act of kindness or loving gesture, including you. So next time someone offers to do something nice for you, don’t tell yourself that you don’t deserve it or that you’re not the taking type. Everyone can give and take, so allow yourself to receive the gestures of others, too. 

Additional Resources

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About the author

Courtney Smith
Courtney is a freelance writer who uses her words to inspire change in the world and help people step into their best selves. When she's not writing on a variety of topics or coming up with healthy recipes she is trying to keep up with her two kids with an iced coffee in hand.

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