Good ways to stay a little bit involved in progressive causes?
March 9, 2021 8:05 AM   Subscribe

What are some good ways to put in about 5 hours a month supporting progressive causes? Things with loose deadlines especially appreciated.

I'd like to keep supporting progressive causes even when there isn't a big election on.

The closest thing I've found so far is Contest Every Race - their research projects seem right up my alley, but their texting tasks get a little intense for my current ability to participate.

I live in a blue state and a progressive city, so, while I try to keep in touch with my congresspeople and local representatives about issues, they consistently vote the way I want anyway.

For some reason, I'm not really excited about writing postcards at the moment. Easy texting has been fine (text a zillion people to remind them to register to vote, or whatever; I did a lot of that in October and November), but I'm not seeing a lot of that right now.

I am NOT interested in phone banking.

My ideal tasks would be to make organizations' internal systems work better (automate spreadsheet tasks?), or to do smallish data wrangling projects that have loose deadlines, but there probably aren't a lot of tasks like that available.

So - any good ideas for small ways I can put limited time into helping progressive organizations?

Thank you!
posted by kristi to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Would it be possible to find a local progressive group and see what they need in terms of help? Usually the big organizations can afford to print mailers in bulk, but maybe the local progressive booth needs someone to stand at a table at a convention for a few hours, and that might make a much larger difference to the community.
posted by bbqturtle at 8:22 AM on March 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you find a smallish group, they are most likely to need volunteers, although they might be less "managed".

For instance, I am planning on stepping down from being the communications chair of my group. One job within that umbrella is being the editor or production editor for the newsletter.

Also, look for a group that is organized around one or more various issues, instead of electing people. The former is more likely to have more stuff going on all year-round.
posted by NotLost at 8:25 AM on March 9, 2021

Best answer: I set up and run the twitter account for a small local charity - it's low-demand because it's a small organisation, it's entirely volunteer-led, and it's mostly run by retired folk who don't know much about twitter, so whatever I can offer them is a bonus. They just email me things occasionally and ask if I can post them. To keep in touch, I go to the AGM once a year and very occasionally (in normal times) do a little in-person volunteering, but it's mostly done via email and flexible timewise.

Seconding that smallish charities are likely to be thrilled by some ad hoc administrative/tech support. Either google [your location]+[type of cause you're interested in] and start emailing the charities that pop up and appeal to you, or check to see if there's an umbrella organisation for volunteering in your area - often they'll offer some kind of service to pair up volunteer skills with charities in need of help.

You might need to try a few to get the right fit - I tried another charity in a similar sphere first, and it turned out their advert for a comms volunteer was out of date, they had someone already, they suggested maybe we could do it between us, it all sounded a bit unpromising. Then I went and did some in person volunteering with another charity, found out they didn't have a twitter account, offered to get it off the ground, and that was that.
posted by penguin pie at 9:45 AM on March 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I subscribe to the Americans of Conscience checklist. It pops up in my RSS feed once a week with action items (call your Senator about this upcoming vote, donate to this cause, email your president about X item on his agenda, etc). I think I've done all of them once? Most of the time I'll pick a few that I feel strongly about and follow through on those particular items.
posted by Gray Duck at 11:33 AM on March 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: hi, you mentioned texting. the two orgs i have stuck with after the election are Working Families Party and Movement labs (formerly Resistance Labs). they both do what I would call easy texting. WFP has a variety of great issues and candidates to support, but they tend to only have texting avaialble during specific times, right now it's just one 2-hour meeting per week. (there are sub-groups like the NY WFP that have more available)
movement labs has pretty much nonstop texting but some of their projects don't appeal to me, i just skip those. it's extremely easy, almost mindless.
posted by katieanne at 8:09 PM on March 10, 2021

Response by poster: These are all completely terrific ideas - thank you so much for all of them!

The Americans of Conscience checklist looks GREAT and may be my main choice to start with while I make some time to look into some of the other options.

The Working Families Party suggestion is also fantastic - I've heard them mentioned occasionally but they kept falling off my radar.

Thank you all so much for these great suggestions - they're all tremendously helpful.
posted by kristi at 2:34 PM on March 13, 2021

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