Here are the three biggest things to remember when you’re trying to create change.
If you’ve yelled at the news lately or seen something in your neighborhood that sucks, you’re not alone. It’s time to take action—and it’s easier than you think. Here, totally inspiring activists and agents of change lay out your steps to saving the world. (Okay, well, at least to making a difference.)
I.D. Your Cause
Think local. Often, you can make the biggest impact in or near your hometown. For example, you can address a road that needs streetlights of a homeless shelter that lacks funding. “You understanding the landscape,” says Erin Schrode, COO or. “Look around your area and ask, ‘What are our pain points? What can I do?'” Then focus. If there’s an uptick of mental-health issues on your campus, don’t try to go abroad. Set a goal to do workshops for 40 students. You can always expand later if it goes well.
Get the Word Out
A million followers is not required for online sway. “Don’t underestimate your existing influence,” says Taylor Barnes, director of the United States of Women, a group dedicated to issues of gender equality. Post about your movement on your social-media feeds, and invite everyone in your life to get involved. “Your network would rather interact with you versus people they’ve never heard of,” explains Barnes. If you ask your friends to join you at a town hall to fight for healthy school lunches, they’re more likely to come than if a stranger had asked them.
A strong movement also needs a strong hashtag. “Make a call to action, says Nola Weinstein of Twitter. “#TimesUp is a good example because it’s defiant and collective.” When you have one in mind, do a search to make sure it’s not already being used.
Don’t Go It Alone
“Nobody can carry a movement by themselves,” says Tarana Burke, senior director of Girls for Gender Equity and founder of the Me Too movement. So be open to others’ help and ideas. Burke started Me Too in 2006 to talk about sexual violence and in 2017, #MeToo went viral. Burke notes: “The public response from survivors has helped shape the narrative of our movement. We knew that to best address their needs and elevate their voices, we needed to make the focus of #MeToo about healing and centering survivors.”