Many of us are very interested in how to create positive social change. We want to help improve the world around us and make a difference. We also know that we have a role to play – so what can we do? Where can we start? The following article briefly covers some ideas.
How to create positive social change begins with an overview of our responsibilities. We have an important role to play. It is our choice whether or not we will take this responsibility seriously enough. We have choices and these choices impact our lives in many ways. One of those ways is through social change.
Social change is about making a difference. In fact, it is almost impossible to think of any kind of societal problem without making a difference. We could talk about clean water and sanitation without making a difference. Even if we could bring about change in one part of the world, such as stopping the transportation of waste through ports, we would still have made a difference. This means that we have multiple social obligations. And each of these obligations has its own weight.
So if we are committed to social change, what weight should we assign ourselves? What kinds of changes should we strive for? This is something that will vary from situation to situation. In some situations it might be relatively easy to make a difference. For example, in a society that practices slavery, there would be little impetus to take part in a plantation walk.
But in others, the situation may very well be one where a massive overhaul is needed. For example, if we live in a society where one in four children live in poverty, and over fifty percent of the labor on the planet is done by people who are unemployed or under-employed, then making a difference is critical. How do we do this? By creating jobs. By paying everyone the minimum wage, providing help for those who can’t afford to hire their own lawyer, and providing grants and loans to those who deserve them.
So how do we do this? By putting someone in charge of a major strategic plan, executing that plan, and making sure that everyone knows about it. By having “social change specialists” on our team who have a range of skills from communications to organizing to marketing to fundraising. They can think about new ways to communicate with the most difficult of customers, have creative ideas for ways to collect donations, and know where to turn for support after the campaign is over.
This isn’t how to create positive social change. It’s just one more way to tell ourselves that we’re not really doing anything. The only change here is that instead of working in an office, we’re working in our neighborhoods. We know that the money raised will support us, but we don’t really understand that the money has to be broken down and spent in our communities. That’s the power of strategy – making sure that we use every opportunity to make sure that our vision is clear.
I’m happy to say that as the coordinator of a major non-profit, we now have one of these centers in my community. When I first heard about it, I was skeptical. I’ve seen many different organizations try to do the same thing, and some have a much better track record for success. However, when I looked at the outcomes of the people who were working in the program, I was very impressed. While there’s still much work to be done, I’m thrilled that we have such a program in my community.