Have you ever tried so hard to make a difference, but feel like you are simply swimming against the tide? First of all, try not to be discouraged. In Mother Teresa’s wise words: ‘Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.’
There is most definitely truth in this, and God is interested in the matters of your heart, whether your actions have an impact on ten people, hundreds or even thousands.
Having said that God also gives us resources and people around us, which we can use to maximise our impact by working together to make our collective voices even louder. By doing this, we can create more opportunities to challenge injustices around the world and create change for good.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about how we can increase our influence by using ready-made platforms to get our voices heard.
Here are three ways we can we can do this:
The vast majority of your friends, family and peers probably have access to social media, and use it pretty regularly. Through social media, you have a captive audience, who you can tweet, snap, vlog, blog and share content with about living justly to your heart’s content. Whether you dedicate your whole account to this, or just keep your pals updated every now and then, they will be sure to pick up on the stuff that is important to you. Don’t worry if there are already other YouTube channels or Instagram accounts that are already doing similar stuff – you have the potential to reach a different group of people and be part of an even bigger movement.
Top tip: When posting on the things you’re passionate about on social media, try to keep it personal, and relevant, so that other people realise it’s possible for them to make lifestyle changes too.
Use your influence
I have been particularly challenged recently to use the ready-made networks around me to have a greater impact. For me personally, this means linking up with networks and organisations that I am involved with to encourage a greater focus on sustainability and caring for our environment. I have been able to start the ball rolling at work, church, and in other organisations that I volunteer for. This could mean linking up with schools, colleges, universities, sports clubs, community groups (the list goes on) about areas where you long to see change.
Top tip: Try and connect with people in these organisations who already have influence, and are in more senior roles, for example, going to your church leaders, or people who oversee the church’s social action.
Put pen to paper (or hand to keyboard)
The third way that we can raise our voices is through writing to organisations and signing campaigns.
Most industries rely on popularity from the general public to stay afloat. Think about supermarkets, for example, who rely on your cash to keep them in business. If enough people sign a campaign, or write to organisations about things that are unacceptable, organisations will be forced to listen and make changes.
Top tip one: If there is a specific issue that you are passionate about, e.g. supermarkets reducing plastic packaging, why not write a template letter or email which you can adjust slightly depending on which shop (or business/organisation) you are sending it to. You could even pass it on to your friends so that they could do the same
Top tip two: If you don’t always know where to find big campaigns (which are likely to get enough signatures to be heard in parliament), you could look out for organisations that advocate for issues that you feel passionate about, and sign up their mailing list, so that you’re always in the loop! There are always lots of actions you can take with Tearfund. Check out the latest campaign on renewable energy here.
How about trying one of these ideas out, and seeing the collective impact that we can have.
What ways have you found help you to increase your influence? Share all your comments and thoughts @WeAreTearfund.
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