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Making Positive Changes in Your Community


While we all might entertain visions of finding ways to make our communities into better places, it can be much harder to figure out how to actually act on your good intentions. The key to making a real positive impact on your community is to think about what issues are most prevalent in your mind. What problems do you notice when you look around your neighborhood? What issues are you passionate about? Once you have answers to those questions, you can apply that passion towards finding ways to encourage others to pay attention and ultimately to solving problems.

Be an Organizer

Oftentimes, all it takes to make a difference in a community is to have someone in the community who can organize and inspire. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to solve lots of problems in your community at once. Instead, identify one or a few related problems that really inspire you to make a difference and become the rallier in your community. Organize local events like trash pickups around your neighborhood. Adopt a road with your neighborhood, church, sports team, or a club where you are a member. Organize a local benefit event or a charity dinner. It doesn’t have to be a major affair. You could set up a small neighborhood cookout where you ask for donations for an issue, hold a raffle to raise money, or hire a band to play as a benefit and charge money for tickets to benefit the cause.

Take Things Slow

When trying to make a difference, it can be very easy to get overwhelmed with all that needs to be done, especially if you feel like there’s not a lot of support for your cause in your area. Take things slowly and just go from day to day. Organize regular events, big and small, so that you can be constantly raising awareness and contributing to the good of your cause, and at the same time be on the lookout for related events, causes, and interest groups where you can get involved, form connections, and build up your presence. Be sure to successfully spread the word about your events. Contact local radio stations, blast it on your social media accounts, get flyers made, and even hand out things like koozies.

Support Local Politics

One of the best ways to make a difference on a local level is to support local causes and politicians who support your causes. Sign up to go from door to door collecting signatures, write editorial pieces, hold fundraisers, and decorate your yard with a campaign sign. Be ready to engage in polite conversation with friends and coworkers about local politics. You never know where you might find a likeminded individual who simply doesn’t realize that a local politician agrees with them.

Be Open to Everything

If you’re not the take-charge type and you don’t have any single issue that really motivates you, be open to getting involved with community groups and as a volunteer in any way that they can use you:

  • Sign up for newsletters with local organizations to get notifications about volunteer opportunities.
  • Contact local groups like homeless shelters, animal rescues, environmental groups, the police or fire departments, local military organizations, local sports teams, schools, senior care facilities, hospitals, churches and faith centers, and policy groups to find out how you can become a registered volunteer. At many organizations, you do need to sign some liability paperwork, but once you’ve done this, you will be kept in the loop regularly on volunteer opportunities, which could be as diverse as helping prepare mailers, going door to door raising funds, cooking at a shelter, walking dogs, or picking up trash in the river.
  • Offer your professional services. Whatever your primary profession, find a way you can use this to give back to the community. For example, if you’re a dentist, offer to pay a visit to a local daycare or children’s shelter to teach the kids about their teeth. Or offer free checkups and cleanings at the homeless shelter.

Be Aware of Local Needs

One of the best ways to get involved is to just be aware of what’s really going on in your area. You never know when you might have a neighbor going through a difficult time or someone who could just use a friendly visit. Start out small with some simple, random acts of kindness. Only you can figure out what will be the best way to help your specific community so be open, be aware, and always be generous!