With a global pandemic highlighting systemic inequalities, a racial justice movement fueled by George Floyd’s death, and the threats of climate change, you might be wondering how you can make a difference. Here are 10 small, socially distanced actions you can take to make a big impact for a cause you’re passionate about.
1. Volunteer virtually.
Despite the uncertainty we are experiencing, the benefits of volunteering are still the same in the COVID-19 era. From Amnesty International’s network of digital volunteers that help research human rights violations to Crisis Text Line’s 24/7 support system, there are countless ways to give your time to a meaningful cause (from your couch). DoSomething.org connects virtual volunteers to campaigns that tackle real-world challenges. The movement’s victories include urging Apple to diversify its emojis and creating the largest crowdsourced anti-bullying guide.
2. Register to vote.
Get ready to exercise your right to elect representatives and influence policy at the local, state, and federal levels. Register to vote and stay up to date on deadlines and voting options. Many states have expanded absentee voting eligibility and extended deadlines for mail-in ballots in this year’s elections, including the November presidential election.
3. Participate in the 2020 census (and encourage others to do the same).
This is one form that you should definitely fill out every ten years. The population count affects each state’s congressional representation and the allocation of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal and state funds annually for public health, disaster planning and response, and infrastructure. The census is also a comprehensive source of data that guides planning and research. Groups like rural residents, immigrants, low-income households, and young children have been disproportionately underrepresented in the census for decades.
4. Support a social media campaign.
The power of social media is undeniable, so consider sharing more than selfies or cat videos. Think about what you want to say and the best way to say it. Hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName have driven the conversation around the racial justice movement, but they are far from the only ones you can follow and promote. Social media campaigns can mobilize people and prompt action for any cause.
5. Donate to nonprofits doing critical work.
There are myriad nonprofit organizations around the world that are committed to the issues you care about. Some are struggling to continue their work as the COVID-19 crisis affects traditional funding sources and makes daily operations more difficult. By giving a little, you can keep them going.
[Donate to GlobalGiving’s Little by Little campaign that supports amazing nonprofits making a difference around the world.]
6. Contact public officials.
Influence your policymakers to enact the change you want to see with calls, tweets, emails, and other messages. Ask them to advocate for a policy you support or urge them to take action against an injustice. If you don’t know who to contact, use online resources to find your representatives.
7. Sign a petition.
Boost the power of the crowd by signing a petition through MoveOn.org. The platform’s petitions are fueled by everyday people and aimed at solving systemic issues through new policies, checks on corporate power, and accountability from elected officials. Recent petitions include a call to extend the $600 weekly COVID-19 emergency unemployment benefit and a demand for action against the police officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death.
8. Educate yourself on a topic or movement.
If less social interaction has left you with more time on your hands, use it to learn about societal challenges, solutions, and how you can make a positive impact on them. There are loads of webinars, conferences, and training opportunities available online. You can also share your knowledge as a social activist by contributing to crowdsourced resources.
9. Be an ally.
You can spread messages of tolerance and support people who face injustices no matter where you are. Learn about what it means to be a good ally by empathizing with and elevating others. Be a source of accurate information for friends or family who are seeking it, and commit to standing up for the individuals, communities, or groups you want to support.
10. Join a digital rally.
Find out what your favorite cause or campaign is doing amid COVID-19 restrictions and connect online. Events like the FridaysForFuture marches are still taking place—weekly and digitally to allow more people to participate. Like their global day of climate action on Sept. 25, many organizations are offering online options to gather and take action—because no amount of social distancing can stop the movements.
Ready for some socially distanced social activism? So are we! We’re matching all donations up to $50 by 50% as part of our Little by Little campaign September 14-18.
Featured Photo: Empower 20 African Girls and Women as Leaders by Afrika Matters Initiative