How to start a social justice movement
As a founder of a non-profit organisation, I know how hard it is to get started. You may have many ideas about helping others and want to jump right into it. However, the first steps are the hardest and if you want the movement to last then you need to take the right steps too.
Full disclosure, much like every other adult, I didn’t know what I was doing but I have learnt a few tricks along the way I wanted to share. So keep in mind, depending on what your movement is, things might look slightly different for you than it was for me. Trust your gut.
- Think of a niche
This is common advice but it’s the most important. If you are starting a social justice movement that is too broad, you’re not going to get any work done with the large amounts of stuff to do. It’s not productive unless you narrow down the movement; make it specific.
2. Take it slowly
I know when you first get the idea, it is really exciting. You want to go full speed with everything. However, this is the moment where you want to take a step back, a deep breath and make a plan. Make a mind map, write a schedule for the next coming months or write down all your ideas and PRIORITISE.
Remember you are human, not a super hero.
3. Do you research
Now, you may be starting your movement based off your experiences. Whether it’s your personal experiences or someone close to you, you have to do your research. In my experience with social justice movements, they can still be individual and you want to know more than the generality of the topic. This means a lot of late night googling, reading of blogs and speaking to those with similar experiences. Become the expert of the topic.
4. Ask for help
Movements aren’t started with one person. As an individual founder, I started the base of Chronically Brown, however, it wouldn’t be where it is today without the help I have received along the way. Make sure you ask for the help when you need it.
Although, many people will offer their help, support and advice there may be moments where they haven’t been able to help you as much as you hoped. Remember that people’s personal lives might interfere with how much they can help; be grateful anyway.
5. Support other movements
It is extremely likely that there are other movements exactly like yours or at least similar. Remember, these are your team mates. It is not a competition to who can do it “first” or “better” but rather work together for social justice. Collaborate with them, support and share their work or even offer some advice!
6. Start on social media
The one brilliant thing about the current world we live in is we have multiple free tools to start movements like the one you want to do. Use them and start an Instagram, Facebook or Twitter page. Even start a newsletter for those wanting to learn more. These are the best places to start and gain support for your work.
7. Share your story
The biggest reason I have gained more and more support over the years is due to my honesty and openness towards my own story. This personal touch can not only help people understand your reasoning behind your work but also help them know the person behind all the work too. Plus, this sometimes helps with getting journalists involved!
8. Stick to it
This one seems like a given but you would be surprised how many people either give up or change their movement completely because people haven’t initially supported it. At first, no one is going to care. This could be for a few weeks, a few months or even a few years but as soon as they realise you haven’t given up, the more likely they will question why you are still bothering. Shout into an empty room.
This advice can seem really generic and unhelpful but I learned all these tips the hardest way possible. These are the most important things to know when getting started. Digest the information and come back to your movement with a clear mind, there is no rush to get started today.