George Bernard Shaw said, “Progress is impossible without change.” And change is impossible without a spark to start the fire. Here are six ways to initiate effective change and become a leader in your community.
1. Find a cause that you believe in.
This cause should be something that you are passionate about supporting, or even part of already. It should be something that you are willing to dedicate a lot of time and effort to and truly believe in the work you are doing. A lack of passion will only detriment your activism process.
2. Set an objective.
One way to do this is to examine your intentions within this cause. Are you advocating for it? Repairing it? Revising it? It’s important to explore why you are becoming involved with this cause.
Within this objective, set long and short term goals.
3. Form a team.
Surround yourself and collaborate with people who also believe in your cause.
Examine everyone’s strengths and interests - some people may be interested in canvassing while others may want to be more involved in designing logos and slogans. Every person has something unique and important to contribute.
4. Listen to people.
Listen to those who have more experience with your cause and people who may be impacted differently by your cause or your objectives. Include these people in your cause. The initial team your formed may need training. You may need assistance creating program and policy proposals. You may need someone who knows how state and federal bills are proposed and passed. These people also may know the core issues or intersectional issues of a community that you are trying to represent.
Also listen to people who oppose your cause. You can learn how to strengthen and revise your cause by talking to as many sides of the story as possible. Be eager to learn and to adapt your movement.
5. Learn how to effectively disseminate information.
If people don’t know what your cause is about, they can’t support or become involved in it. Hold informational meetings, give out pamphlets, canvass door-to-door, start a digital campaign and maintain an online presence through social media, hang fliers up at schools, campuses, and community centers.
6. Teach others how to be leaders and carry on your vision.
Don’t lead from above. Just because you formed the group does not mean you can rule over them with an iron fist. Work with your group; get down in the trenches with them. Teach them how they can spread the message to their respective communities.