Guest Opinion: 5 great ways to create positive change in your community

  • by Ed Carter
  • Tuesday November 21, 2023
Share this Post:
The holiday season is a great time to give back to the community by volunteering. Photo: Pexels
The holiday season is a great time to give back to the community by volunteering. Photo: Pexels

Few things are more rewarding than standing up for a cause you believe in, especially when it is of importance in your local community. Perhaps it's social justice, assisting senior citizens, feeding hungry families, or supporting health care initiatives. Or maybe you want to help protect the environment, stop animal abuse, or improve the safety of parks in your city. Whatever you believe in, here are a few impactful ways to take action and bring about positive change.

1. Launch a nonprofit organization

If you notice a lack of local support for your favorite cause, consider launching a nonprofit to fill the gap. Starting a nonprofit company is a great opportunity to leverage your business talent to help others. By registering your business as a nonprofit corporation, it will be easier to apply for grants and obtain public funding. Research what it takes to establish and manage a nonprofit to ensure you're up for the challenge. For example, you'll need to create bylaws that detail how your nonprofit operates. These typically include information on voting procedures and rules for resolving conflicts of interest.

2. Give to local charities

Donating your resources to local charities is another great way to give back to your community. Give whatever you can. You could donate money or gift cards, gift gently used items, or even donate your time and skills to offer help with something specific like marketing or graphic design. If you're on a tight budget, you might want to stick to non-monetary donations.

The best thing you can do is contact the charity or nonprofit and ask what type of donation would be the most useful. For example, the Right to Shower explains that homeless shelters often need unused socks and underwear, bedding, and hygiene products like toiletries and menstrual products.

3. Volunteer your time

Your time is one of your most valuable resources. By giving some of your time to a local cause, you can make a real difference. Look for volunteer opportunities with the organizations you want to support. Food kitchens, animal shelters, hospitals, public libraries, community centers, faith organizations, parks, and retirement homes are always happy to receive an extra set of helping hands. Call around and find out how you can help.

If you have a specialized skill, offer it to local organizations. Donating time can be a huge benefit to the nonprofits and the people they help. For instance, you can use teaching skills to help disadvantaged kids in afterschool programs or in group homes. You might even discover this as a new passion and decide to pursue a teaching certification after volunteering.

4. Put together fundraising campaigns

You don't need to launch a nonprofit company to raise money for a local cause. Consider starting your own fundraiser to raise money to donate to a charity or gift to someone in need. First, Candid Learning explains that you'll need to establish a method for collecting donations, such as PayPal. Accepting donations online is the easiest way to do this. You'll also want to write a news release about your campaign so you can ask local media to share your initiative with their audiences. You can also promote the effort on social media.

5. Spread awareness

If you don't have a lot of time or money to spend on a cause, spreading awareness is one of the easiest ways to offer your support. Use your voice to share the importance of your effort. Besides discussing matters with friends and family, you can leverage social media to reach an even wider audience. Be sure to stress why your issue matters and focus on exactly how people's donations will be put to use. Sharing numbers and statistics is a great way to get everyone's attention.

Make a positive impact

Are you looking for ways to give back to your community? Stand up for a local cause! Whether this means launching your own nonprofit organization or spreading awareness on social media, your actions are bound to make a difference in your community.

Ed Carter is a retired financial planner who works with people of all abilities at

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.