How to Be a More Effective Activist

We’ve all heard these famous words from Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Never has something been more true!

Today, our world faces a host of incredible challenges, from racism to food insecurity, drought to gun violence, and not the least of which: climate change. Never has there been a time crucial as this for people to step up and speak up for what they believe in — for the causes that will enable human flourishing, well into the future.

It’s no wonder activism feels overwhelming — tireless, even. What are we to do? How do we avoid losing our voice in a complicated, information-saturated world full of people clambering for their voices to be heard? How do we take our activism beyond our Facebook feeds and into the public arena? How do we spur real change?

To be a truly effective activist, we must step out from behind the screens in our hands, join forces with initiatives who are gaining ground and take productive, intentional, well-thought-out, goal-oriented action where we know it will count. Still feel a little lost? Here’s what the pros have to say about how to become a more effective activist.

Activists Working Together Making a Difference

Volunteer with an established organization

One of the very best ways to be more productive as an activist is to join forces with established advocacy organizations who already have their act together. Depending on the organization you choose to volunteer with, you may be able to do everything from fundraising and making phone calls to canvassing or speaking publicly. Either way, you’ll have experience, support and resources on your side that you wouldn’t have on your own.

Not sure where to start? Check out volunteer databases like MyCivicWorkout or VolunteerMatch related to the cause you want to support. We even have our own databases here at Care2! I guarantee any organization would be delighted to have you on board.

Related: An Introvert’s Guide to Activism

Confident African American woman asks question during a meeting

Focus on strategies that are grounded in policy

Rants on social media don’t translate into effective policy change. Besides, it’s very possible that you’ll end up simply “preaching to the choir,” causing your message, however powerful it may be, to fizzle. While there is a place for social media (building high-level awareness about a cause, for example), this is unlikely to have a real impact on decision making that will change people’s lives.

Instead of spending your energy sharing memes online, get serious about policy. Each of us has the distinct right and responsibility to influence legislative action. Truly, it’s our best opportunity to make changes to this system we all live in.

Do the courts feel out of reach? Check out this resource that describes the structure of American legislative institutions and how to influence change from within. This video on how a bill becomes law is also super helpful!

Group of people sitting in a circle on group therapy. Looking at their therapist and listening ti her story.

Write a petition and gather support

We designed the Care2 platform to make writing a petition as simple as possible. Whether you care about education, discrimination, food waste, polluted water or any other social cause, you can build your platform right here with us.

Have an idea in mind? You can start your petition right here on Care2. All you need to do is select an activism category, title your petition with an eye-catching name, explain the issue and offer potential solutions for change. If this is the first time you’re creating a petition, we highly recommend you check out our How to Start a Petition beginner’s guide.

Group of American activists is protesting

Unite with like-minded people

It’s easy to feel like you’re working alone if you don’t have a supportive community surrounding you. Make it a priority to join a network of like-minded people. Their energy and knowledge will empower you and you’ll benefit from the camaraderie that comes with pursuing something big as a group.

One way to start is by sharing your activism work in daily conversation (following these tips for respectful activism, of course). You never know who might share similar passions to yours and you may end up accidentally recruiting someone new to your cause! Remember: there is power in numbers. Never forget it!

27 comments

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara9 days ago

I attended the climate march in Dublin yesterday

SEND
Mona M
Mona M10 days ago

thank you. I like that "step out from behind the screens in our hands" and the Power of Action doesn't always need to be spectacular!

SEND
Richard E Cooley
Richard E Cooley10 days ago

Thank you.

SEND
Anne M
Anne M10 days ago

Did some activism in the 70s ,, so I did my part.. - Now it's up to the next generation to voice their opinions... - I still sign petitions though, as many as I can...

SEND
Kathy K
Kathy K11 days ago

Thanks.

SEND
Christine D
Christine D11 days ago

Great advice. I am an activist against the pharmaceutical and vaccine industries, and we must be gaining momentum because these industries are fighting back, now with censorship in social media platforms. It's an uphill battle because they have the big bucks and we don't, but activism exposed the tobacco industry and recently Monsanto. It can take years but the determination to expose how far big industry will go to maintain their profit margins at the expense of human health will eventually create cracks in their foundations.

SEND
Caitlin L
Caitlin L11 days ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
HEIKKI R
HEIKKI R11 days ago

thank you

SEND
hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN hEARFIELD11 days ago

tyfs

SEND
Sherry Kohn
Sherry K11 days ago

Many thanks to you !

SEND