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Everyone can make a difference! Pay It Forward is a great opportunity to make someone a little happier by doing a good deed. Here are some ideas.

We would love to hear your story! Please post here to inspire others to Pay It Forward.


  1. Give a compliment
  2. Hold the door for someone
  3. Let the person behind you in line go ahead of you
  4. Offer your seat to someone when there aren't any left
  5. Volunteer time at a non-profit organization, school, or senior center
  6. Don't take the closest parking spot
  7. Help someone get active - partner up to walk, run, bike, etc.
  8. Walk neighborhood dogs
  9. Donate to your local animal shelter
  10. Babysit for a couple or single parent so they can get out of the house
  11. Housework / snow removal / yard work for a neighbor or elderly person
  12. Clean up neighborhood and parks
  13. Mentor a student that wishes to learn more about a field in which you have expertise
  14. Clean off cars on a snowy day
  15. Deliver hand-written thank you notes to a person or organization of your choice
  16. Leave notes of encouragement in unexpected places - library books, etc.
  17. Donate clothes, furniture, toys, and/or food to sites within your community
  18. Help promote fundraising for someone or an organization in need
  19. Run errands for those that are unable/sick/elderly
  20. Thank a former teacher that changed your life
  21. Donate blood
  22. Protect the environment - Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

Pay It Forward

  1. Pay for the next person in line (coffee, food, groceries, etc)
  2. Put coins in low or expired parking meters
  3. Drop off flowers at a nursing home for all residents to enjoy
  4. Stop and buy a drink from a kid's lemonade stand
  5. Hand out bottles of water to bicyclists/joggers/walkers
  6. Purchase school supplies and/or food for backpack program at schools
  7. Fill candy machines with coins so the next person gets a free treat
  8. Pay lunch account balances for students that do not qualify for assistance
  9. Send treats to a business that displays great customer service
  10. Prepare a meal for your neighbor
  11. Leave a larger tip than normal for waiter/waitress
  12. Donate items for the Backpack Buddies program at local schools

For The Kids

  1. Create Pay It Forward bingo card with things kids can do and check off as they go (ex: hold the door for someone, sharpen friend's pencil, give classmate a compliment)
  2. Visit area senior centers
  3. Donate clothes/toys/books to daycare centers, shelters, or schools
  4. Donate money for another child to buy books at school book fair
  5. Make treats and write thank you notes for school custodians, cafeteria staff, and crossing guards
  6. Dance marathon
  7. Put care packages together for soldiers from their school
  8. Partner with younger children to mentor, read, and help them study
  9. Clean up neighborhoods and parks
  10. Donate prom dresses to underpriviliged youth
  11. Help run errands for those that are unable/sick/elderly
  12. Use child's interests and capitalize on it (ex: sports = help with Special Olympics, animals = walk neighborhood dogs, reading = book sale or donate $$)

Community Submitted

  1. I am donating funds crediting Inspire Ankeny to help my hometown in South Dakota build a swimming pool for kids.
  2. Our school is donating books to Des Moines middle schools through a Scholastic book drive and personal donations.