Five ways to fight for community causes

By Sharon Wagner

You don’t have to be a full-time activist to advocate for your community and the issues you are passionate about. Statistics show that 55 percent of Gen Z respondents were deterred from volunteering because they didn’t know where to start. Thankfully, there are some easy steps people of any generation can take to support local causes. Whether there are related local programs established or not, here are five ways to get started.

  1. Do your research.

Although many people can get stuck in this stage, it’s still important to understand the problems you want to address. For instance, if you’re going to increase voter registration in your neighborhood, you’ll want to get an idea of where the gaps are. During this process, you will likely come across other organizations focused on the issue. If not, it’s probably even more imperative that you take action. The Internet and your local library are usually great resources for this step.

  1. Create connections.

Once you’ve got a good grasp on the project and what the community needs most, it’s time to create connections with others. Reach out to established organizations, or if there aren’t any, start a Facebook group or Meetup and invite others to get involved. Great campaigns take a village, and people are more likely to support your cause when you have a team willing and ready to do the required work. While social media campaigns are helpful, nothing beats people getting together in person and taking action.

  1. Raise funds.

Although volunteer time is essential to neighborhood work, you’ll likely need money to accomplish some of your goals. Whether you want to create informational flyers, sponsor after-school programs for kids, or print t-shirts for your workforce to wear, raising funds will be vital. One of the most important steps is creating a pitch that succinctly sums up your mission and action plan. Taking advantage of your social network and the professional networks of other altruists is a great way to get started. Online fund-raising can also raise a good amount of money through smaller, individual donations.

  1. Manage your time.

Although you may be excited about making a difference, it’s essential to refrain from overloading your schedule. Doing so will only cause burnout and make you more likely to quit before you accomplish your mission. An excellent digital calendar and some firm boundaries are essential to this step.

  1. Start a non-profit.

If you’re still passionate after you get started, you may want to take the leap and create your own non-profit. If you set up your organization as a nonprofit corporation, it will be easier to obtain grants and public funding. Part of this process includes setting up bylaws that demonstrate how you will operate. This includes governance, how board meetings are run, how voting takes place, and rules on controlling conflicts of interest.

By following some of the tips above, you can begin to advocate for causes you are passionate about and even make a lasting change.


Sharon Wagner, a former bank manager, writes about health and well-being older adults through. Her website, Senior Friendly, has advice for enjoying golden years.