Determine What Matters for You
You're inspired. You're motivated. You're ready to take action. Now you just need to decide how and where. With all of the things you can potentially do, and all of the issues that you care about, how can you choose just one with which to get started? Here are a few tips and ideas for identifying what might matter most to you:
- Reflect. Think back to past voluntary actions in which you've participated. What did they focus on? What motivated you to take action? What kinds of issues or topics were most compelling? Reflect especially on those where you participated more than one time. What kept you coming back?
- Consider. When you're watching the news, skimming through articles online, or scrolling through podcasts, pay attention to which ones most often capture your attention. Which topics stand out most frequently? Another example: if you overheard two people on the subway or a bus talking about an issue , which ones would make you most want to eavesdrop to learn more?
- Brainstorm. Take a few minutes and list every issue about which you are passionate. This might be a long list. That's ok. Then go through the list and prioritize them as best as you're able. What do you want to tackle first? What might be most time sensitive? Where do you think you might be most useful as an ally *now*?
- Research. Spend some time on a website like VolunteerMatch or Idealist, just browsing the volunteer opportunities they have listed. Which ones sound most compelling? Which issue areas are most inspiring or engaging? An activity to try: as you scroll through opportunities, copy and paste all of the ones that you would consider potentially doing into a Word document; once you have 25 or so, go through them anew to identify common themes. Perhaps many of them focus on one particular issue like the wage gap or reproductive rights. Maybe they are all a particular kind of role, like a leadership position or a team opportunity. They might even engage a specific skill or talent, like photography or writing. The point of the exercise is to allow yourself to first think big, then whittle it down to specific types of action to which you are most currently drawn. This can then help you decide how and where to take action!