Ordinary people are starting campaigns to address the coronavirus–virtually. You can too.
With strict home quarantines and country lockdowns, “normal” life and day-to-day activities are quickly going virtual for people around the world–including millions of concerned citizens. People are taking activism online to find ways of securing on-ground solutions that will make them feel less powerless. So much so that the Change.org platform is seeing huge spikes in website traffic.
People are finding ways to #ActAtHome in bringing real solutions on the ground.
Below are some campaigning tips and inspiring stories we’ve seen on our platform to give you a boost of motivation in starting your own campaign and in creating the change we all deserve to see today.
1) Find out what your community needs.
Sometimes, the easiest place to start is where you are. Go online or catch the news and observe what urgent issues your community is facing right now. Or perhaps start by asking–who in my community needs urgent help? Or, what do I need that other people might need as well?
Around the world, we’re seeing a lot of petitions on Change.org that ask for Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other essential supplies for health workers on the frontlines. But there are also localized needs such as providing relief packages for self-employed workers in the beauty industry in India, to give an example.
Bianca Louzado recognized this need being a make-up artist and hairstylist herself and sympathizes with many others like her who work in the beauty industry. Their jobs entail them to be physically present with their clients–something they simply cannot do anytime soon. This motivated her to start a petition which has since gathered support from more than 12,000 people (and growing!). She saw a need and acted on it.
2) Know what efforts are already being done to address the issue.
You don’t always have to start from scratch. Find out if other people in your community have identified the same issue you want to help solve and see how you can help them.
Tonia Merz, a freelance fashion designer from Germany felt compelled to raise greater awareness about the importance of having universal basic income for citizens during the corona crisis, especially for those self-employed individuals in the creative industry. Other non-profit organizations in Germany already exist to fight for this cause so Tonia started a petition to help raise the issue to the country’s decision-makers who have the ability to make it happen.
With the support of the Change.org team in Germany, she collaborated with other organizations in organizing a full-day digital demonstration (think: digital protest) on Twitter on the 26th of March. On that same day, the campaign hashtag reached #1 in the trending list in Germany and Tonia even succeeded in getting a response from a top decision-maker. Her story taught us that working together with other like-minded advocates helps get things done.
3) Raise the issue in case no one has taken action on it yet.
Transformational change starts when at least one person raises their voice.
In Japan where the youth, especially those below the legal voting age, find it challenging to make their voices heard on issues concerning greater society, high school students turned to online campaigns for help. Just recently, more than 200 campaigns with signatures exceeding 110,000 in total were started by students online asking to extend school closures in Japan.
This movement shows just how powerful (virtual) voices can be in impacting the decision-making process offline and in breaking cultural barriers that limit some generations from making their voices heard.
4) Lastly, be creative in combining online and on-hand solutions.
Sometimes the simplest solutions can make a difference.
#YoUseBarbijo is a popular hashtag for Argentinians nowadays. From Argentinian Spanish, it loosely translates to “I use a mask.” In reality, not everyone owns a store-bought face mask in Argentina–an essential commodity in today’s times. And because of the possibility of supplies running scarce, organizations in Argentina have banded together to start a project that educates their citizens about the importance of wearing masks and teaches them how to make their own. #YoUsoBarbijo | yousobarbijo.org
The project is a clever supplement to an existing petition started by Adriana Clarisa, a retired local citizen. Her petition asked the government to make wearing masks mandatory for all citizens of Argentina regardless of their age and health status. Adriana is afraid of going to the bank to collect her retirement fund because of the possibility of getting infected, especially after announcements from their government were made that asymptomatic people may be spreading the virus.
The project, #YoUsoBarbijo, combined with her campaign hopes to secure government support as well as the cooperation of every Argentinian.
You too can start at home. Maximize the technology and resources you have at home toward social change and explore how you can accelerate them into social movements beyond your screen.
More than a catchy call-to-action, #ActAtHome is a message of hope from us at Change.org. We are convinced that conditions can change when we all work together and maximize what we can do online. We see it happen every day, through your campaigns.
Join the movement. Visit changefoundation.org/covid-19