Activists are people who can identify the need for change and who spend their time doing something about it. Also, as successful teen activists demonstrate, structural, social, or economic barriers don't need to stop you from pursuing your passion and creating positive change. What drives them is their passion and a vision for a better future. If you're interested in making a difference around a cause that matters to you, you can do so by finding out about the issue, looking for ways to get involved in person and online, and possibly developing a career in a related field.
Method 1 of 4: Find and Support Your Passion for Change
Step 1. Identify and specify your passions
When you look at the world around you, what excites you? What fills you with hope? What makes you angry? What makes you fear the future? Your passions may focus on supporting the good (eg, healthier menus in schools) or confronting what you think is wrong.
Write a list of things that you are passionate about and try to be as specific as possible. For each one, identify the problem, the solution, and what you can do to help
Step 2. Set ambitious but realistic goals
Throughout history, individual activists have helped topple empires, liberate the oppressed, and open minds to new ideas. Today, even teens can improve their local neighborhoods or establish social equality movements through their own efforts. If you want to achieve something, it is important that you be specific about what you want to happen and how you can realistically achieve it.
For example, while a lofty goal is to try to stop human-caused climate change, it is too broad a goal to address directly. However, you can advocate for the strictest emission standards for vehicles and industries in your area
Step 3. Join an organization that supports your cause
If you share a passion for the same cause as many other activists, you can probably find one or many existing organizations that you can join. It could be anything from a student club to a national organization (like the American Civil Liberties Union or a similar body in your region).
- Most activist organizations provide different levels of participation, so you can do whatever you feel most comfortable with, whether it's attending meetings and exhibitions, making phone calls to local representatives, or just donating a little money. whenever possible.
- You can also set up your own activist organization, be it a recycling club at school or an anti-racism group on the Internet. Don't worry about starting small.
Step 4. Devote your time to volunteering
One of the most effective ways to make a difference is to donate your time to support your passion. Contact an organization in your community that works for the cause that interests you and ask how you can help.
For example, if you are interested in advocating for animals in need, you can volunteer at your local animal shelter or wildlife rescue center. There are many ways you could help, such as caring for animals or even helping out at fundraisers or creating content for the website
Step 5. Donate money or supplies
Most activist or charitable organizations need resources to do their work. If you are unable to donate money to an organization that supports the cause you sympathize with, you could donate other items they need, such as clothing or canned food.
Keep in mind that some charities have more reputations than others. If you plan to donate money or items to support a cause, you should do your research before doing so. Check the rating of these charities through organizations such as CharityWatch, Charity Navigator, BBB Wise Giving Alliance or a similar one in your region
Step 6. Communicate with your family and friends
Tell them about the cause you support and invite them to participate. If they are interested, you can provide posts about it or just tell them what you have learned. If you do volunteer work, invite an interested friend or family member to do it with you.
If you are not sure where to start, first make a list of 5 friends or family that you think you can talk to about the cause. Determine the way of approaching them in which you would feel most comfortable (eg, by email, phone, or in person) and speak to them in whatever way you think is appropriate
Step 7. Lead by example
One of the simplest and most important types of activism is practicing what you believe in or doing what is known as “conscious activism”. This consists of including activism in your daily life by living and behaving in ways that directly support the cause (eg, reducing your carbon footprint, using sustainably made products, etc).
For example, if you are interested in reducing the rates of cruelty to animals, you can start by stopping using products made with them (such as those made with animal fur or leather) and avoiding businesses that exploit them (such as circuses or shows of marine animals)
Method 2 of 4: Do Internet Activism
Step 1. Promote the cause through social media
You can use social media to keep your friends and followers informed about the causes you support. Post informative articles, write about what you're doing to stay involved, and invite your friends to attend events or donate to fundraisers for the cause.
Step 2. Explain and provide evidence for your perspective
Regardless of your cause, from nuclear proliferation to gender identity to bathroom choices, you will meet many people on the Internet who have different points of view than you. Some will never bend their arm no matter what evidence you give them, while others will be willing to listen to reasonable and thoughtful explanations.
- Appealing to the emotions of others ("This product is harmful to the health of our children") works best when supported by evidence ("Check the following scientific studies …").
- There is “fake news” all over the internet, so do some research to evaluate the evidence before sharing it.
Step 3. Circulate petitions online
Thanks to the Internet, a petition no longer has to mean going door to door with a pen and clipboard. There are many websites and social networks that host petitions. All you have to do is the following:
- Set a clear, specific and realistic goal, such as "Protect the wooded area next to Veterans Park."
- Personalize the cause by telling your story, such as "I, like many children in this area, developed an appreciation for nature by walking through these forests."
- Combine efforts online and offline. Encourage your friends and colleagues to share your petition both online and in person.
Step 4. Provide financial support where possible
It's easy to donate money online to existing organizations that are focused on your cause, although you should always do a little research on how these groups use the money. You can also go online to find crowdfunding options using different websites or social media to encourage direct donations.
For example, if you want to raise money for a local animal shelter, make sure you have a clear plan for the use of the funds. Many people will not donate their money blindly without knowing what it will be used for
Method 3 of 4: Be an Informed Activist
Step 1. Find out about the cause
Before supporting a cause, it will be important to educate yourself on related issues. Look for books that talk about her in your school or public library.
- Members of charities or other activist organizations dedicated to the cause might recommend some books. Check their web pages for lists of reading materials.
- Go to the teachers who are informed about it and ask them to recommend some books.
Step 2. Check the web pages related to your cause
Look for pages of activists or charitable organizations that defend this cause. Read their summaries about the problems and what they are doing to help, and review any information they have on how to get involved.
Use the Internet to inform yourself on the subject in general, but always be aware of the sources of the information and any impartiality that may be apparent
Step 3. Stay on top of the news
Watch the news or read newspapers, magazines, or online publications to find out more about what's new around the cause. If you are part of a charitable or activist organization that supports the same cause as you, they may provide you with regular newsletters or summaries on recent stories related to it.
Keep in mind that not all sources are trustworthy or trustworthy. Carefully evaluate any source you read (especially the internet) and determine if the author could be biased
Step 4. Go to classes on the problems related to it
If you're in high school or college, you may want to enroll in classes that help you better understand the cause you support. For example, if you are concerned about environmental issues, a good starting point would be to take an environmental science class.
- Taking a class will not only help you learn more about the cause, but also help you connect with other people who are interested in the same issues.
- Talk to your teacher outside of class to give you more ideas on how to get involved or learn more on your own.
- If you are no longer studying or if your school does not offer courses that are useful to you, you could look for a free or affordable online course that is related to the cause. For example, Smith College offers an online course on women's activism through the edX website.
Step 5. Listen to the people most affected
If you are interested in a cause that affects other people, one of the most effective ways to find out how you can help them is to listen to what they have to say. If you can't talk to them in person, try reaching out to affected people and communities through social media, or read their stories in books or online.
For example, if you are interested in helping people with LGBT rights issues, you can talk with members of this community about the types of issues they consider most important and what you can do to help. If your school campus has an LGBT club, this could be a good starting point
Step 6. Talk to other activists
If you know other community activists who are involved in your cause, talking to them will help inform you about the work already being done in the area and what you can do to help.
- Try communicating with other activists in your area through social media or by attending meetings for local organizations.
- If you are studying, talk to other students or teachers who are interested in the cause you support. Find out if there are any student organizations on campus that are related to it.
Method 4 of 4: Following a Profession in Activism
Step 1. Specialize in a field related to activism
If you are studying in college or preparing to do so, you can specialize in a field that helps you support a cause that interests you. For example, you could specialize in a field like international leadership or focus on something more specific to your interest, like environmental science or women's studies.
Also think about the other professions that would allow you to support your cause. For example, if you are interested in public health, you could seek a profession in a medical field
Step 2. Look for pre-professional internships
If you've recently started work, internships can be a great way to start a career as an activist. Look for internships related to your interests during college or right after college. Find out if your favorite nonprofit and community organizations provide this option. Talk to your college counselor about places you can get activism-related internships. Completing some relevant practice periods can put you on track and become a professional activist.
Some bachelor's programs may require you to complete an internship in order to graduate. You will have to review the graduation requirements and complete a practice period if this is necessary to receive your degree
Step 3. Look for activist jobs
If you are ready to start working, look for jobs that are relevant to your interests. Find out if charitable or community organizations have open positions that you think are relevant to your skills. For example, if you have good writing and editing skills, find out if you can work as a copywriter for a community organization. If you have the ability to plan and coordinate events, you can look for work as a volunteer coordinator.
Basically, any job skills you have are likely to be helpful to some activist organizations that support your home. They may need accountants, drivers, cooks, carpenters, nurses, etc
- Be creative! Activism doesn't require big events. You can make a difference even if you only work from the garage. Bloggers can practice activism through their texts, teachers can be activists by encouraging students to question their beliefs, artists can spread activist art about guerrillas in the city, computer literate people can create an electronic magazine, etc.
- If you are going to work with other people, you should take into account the needs of the group. You must be willing to compromise on the details or even your core values.