I believe we all need to be more activist, especially with things like homelessness on the rise.
There are so many small things we can do to directly or indirectly help people who need help. The third sector and mainstream popular culture aren’t as close as they could be, and I think that each has a lot to learn from the other.
Since I started working for a charity I’ve realised how easy it is to simply be unaware of what problems exist and why – which is a shame when you’re an able bodied, intelligent person who could make the time to help out a little.
The most frustrating thing is that most of the issues I learn about, can be stopped or solved if we all do a little bit. But how do you make thousands of people realise that? With great difficulty.
Imagine if everyone on the planet picked up one piece of litter every day. Imagine if everyone in the UK did something once a month for a local or national charity working to solve social problems.
I think the biggest ‘turn off’ factor for volunteering is having time, but know that there are plenty of opportunities out there that will fit into your schedule or one off opportunities.
Here are 5 ways you can be more activist right now.
- Get educated. Join a newsletter of a local charity or start reading third sector blogs to learn about what is really going on and what practical things can be done. Some good starting points are Amnesty International, Free Movement (a FANTASTIC resource to learn about our country’s extremely harsh and frightening asylum system), Red Cross and Crisis.
- Become a regular giver. Set up a standing order to a local charity – it doesn’t have to break the bank, it could be as small as £2 a month, but trust me, every little really does help. Charities like mine fundamentally rely on regular giving – it is the best way to support the third sector.
- Be specific with your skill set when making volunteering enquiries. The more specific the better. Charities need all kinds of support – it could be helping out at a fundraising event, creating an infographic as a one off, processing donations or even just helping to clean the office once a week. It’s always worth asking the question in case you find an opportunity that works for you and benefits your CV.
- Don’t watch the news. Honestly, I stopped watching ‘normal’ TV about two years ago and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made.
- Start questioning why you and those around you ‘do’ things. Question everything. It will feel uncomfortable and wrong at first, but do it. You’ll start to find you disagree with some of your reasons ‘why’ – that’s when it’s time to adjust accordingly.