The current social environment with challenges of going out and protesting are changing activism. How can you be proactive and keep your cause alive while socially distanced?
Digital tools are the best option for positive change without having to put anyone at risk. Digital activism allows you to connect with a broad audience while keeping yourself and your community safe. Don't let the pandemic discourage you! There is still a need for other types of roles that are also essential in activism.
Here are effective ways to take action without being on the ground
1. Build your community
You can now connect with people that live outside your physical surroundings and start purposeful conversations. The collaborative chat app WeAct makes it easier than ever. You can also conduct polls, enhance collaboration and generate discussions. WeAct is the perfect tool to keep people aware of your cause and learn from their ideas.
2. Phone Banking and eCanvassing
Draw attention of authorities and political entities. Raise your voice against injustice and pressure governments into policy actions or encourage support for candidates who are focusing on environmental, social, and racial justice.
Phone banking and eCanvassing are perfectly legal and powerful tools to change the world. With the Sunrise Movement you can virtually join others to make calls from any location. They will even provide you with the materials you need to be adequately prepared.
3. Organize (virtual) events
If you have already built an empowered community, then it is time to take action! Campaigns can now be run entirely online. Although there is nothing like face-to-face meetings, you have a wide variety of tools and techniques to make your events or video calls more engaging. WeAct allows you to set up your calendar, sync events and assign tasks to members of your organization to keep this process streamline.
4. Raise funds to donate
Although financial activism is sometimes overlooked, donating is one alternative to help while socially distanced. You can make contributions to support the causes you believe in. First find a cause you are passionate about, then research organizations with an action plan to help, and finally contribute a monetary amount of your choosing.
If you don't know where to start, some exemplary grassroots organizations include Trans Justice Funding Project, United We Dream, and the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. A more extensive list of organizations can be found on WeAct's Causes page.
5. Use apps & social media
Your voice is still important, no matter where you are. Social media and microblogging platforms like Twitter allow you to quickly spread a concept around the world with the use of hashtags. #ASLIceBucketChallenge, #MeToo, #EleNão and #BlackLivesMatter are some examples of how hashtags have globalized campaign's goals. Once you follow a hashtag, it will appear continually in your feed so that you don’t miss a thing!
There's no doubt social is great for gathering info and resources. When you want to take the step beyond awareness and move to action, use WeAct: the app for collaboration and communication with people interested in similar causes.
6. Create art
Enjoy the power of culture and be creative! You can make paintings or posters to donate or even openly support the cause from your balcony—and not only visual art can make a difference; songs, poems or a short story can also help to spread the message. Are you a filmmaker? Your skills can be used to create animation or a short video that you could share in social media to raise awareness. Join an artists community such as ARTivism: Arts for a Cause or Artistic Activist Initiative.
7. Keep learning & share knowledge
If you have no choice but to stay at home, make this time worth it! The learning offered online is now wider than ever, and there are hundreds of free ebooks, articles and webinars on the internet. If you need a place to start, Black Lives Matter has a Global Network Vimeo with 35+ educational videos.
The more informed you are about a problem, the more prepared you will be to take action on it. If you are an expert about something (Law, Humans Rights, Economics or Graphic Design, for example) you can also share that knowledge. If you want to go beyond social media for sharing, try hosting a course on Teachable.
Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding concepts are based on the idea of joining a "crowd" for a common goal. Nowadays, there are many online platforms for social good aimed at empowered collective action.
If you want to collaborate with your money, ideas or skills, go for it! GreenFundr is a crowdsourcing platform for sustainable projects. They also post helpful tips on their social media for having an effective campaign. Check out their profile!
9. Citizen journalism
If you are aiming to persuade people to change their behavior and join your cause, blogs and vlogs are the perfect channels to do so! You can also use them to give voice to other activists and causes by publishing interviews or curating relevant content. Pro tip: The WeAct app allows you to upload and organize your documents to make them accessible for your community.
Interested in contributing to the WeAct platform? We would love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit an article idea.
10. Sign petitions
Despite being pejoratively called #Slacktivism by some, these kind of small actions can have a significant impact on the medium and long term. Therefore, we should not underestimate the potential power of these actions. The fact that signing a petition is quick and easy does not mean that this small gesture cannot make a change! Change.org has many to look through here.
There are so many reasons not to give activism up. You just need to adapt to a different scenario in which—despite being physically far from each other—we can now be even more connected than before.
We cannot deny that the situation, globally speaking, has dramatically changed during the last months. Moving activism to the digital world may not be enough, but it is an excellent way to start! Digital activism gives you the ability to connect with a large community and with others that, like you, might feel stuck at home or unable to act.
I am sure you now have some ideas to keep helping from home. So then, why don't you start acting? Tell us how you have been making a difference while socially distanced in the comments 👇
Cover photo art by Annabelle Golden.