When it comes to influencing politics in the US, big donors run the show. There is no doubt that businesses, millionaires, and super PACS are highly skilled at using financial might to strategically shape the political agenda of the country. When megabuck donations from climate change deniers like the Mercer Family are rewarded with environmental rollbacks by the Trump administration, is it any wonder that individual efforts feel like a drop in the ocean?
Yet your voice matters – starting with your vote. Visit Rock The Vote to find out how to register in your state. Remember, your Member of Congress works for you so tell them what you want! Speak up at town hall meetings or call their office to express your concerns. You’ll find contact information for your MOC here, and this guide by action group Indivisible details how to engage with your representative.
OpenInvest’s goal is to help everyone invest in ways that change the world, by putting our money where our morals are and shaping corporate behavior with our votes and investments. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to invest. If you’re not, don’t worry, you can still make a difference without money:
Urge your representative to join the Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan group in the US House of Representatives. The membership is kept equal between Democrats and Republicans with every new member expected to bring a friend from across the aisle. Grassroots environmental group Citizens’ Climate Lobby empowers and trains volunteers to build relationships with elected officials, the media, and the local community. Likewise, the Sierra Club keeps members updated on opportunities to protect and advocate for environmental issues in their area.
Speak up about responsible gun control by joining Everytown for Gun Safety, a movement of Americans working together to build safer communities. You can also join Moms Demand Action, a network of local chapters committed to ending gun violence (and you don’t have to be a mother to join).
By volunteering with the Human Rights Campaign you can help ensure the basic equal rights of LGBTQ people. HRC educates the public about critical issues and mobilizes communities to take action to end hate and discrimination. The Victory Fund is an LGBTQ political action committee dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ people who can further equality at all levels of government. Make LGBTQ folks feel welcome in your community by joining or supporting your local Pride Parade or joining a chapter of PFLAG.
The International Rescue Committee suggests helping refugees by volunteering at a local resettlement agency or becoming an English tutor, mentor or tour guide. You could also donate furniture and household items or encourage local businesses to employ refugees. Lastly, by urging your elected officials to oppose anti-refugee policies, you can remind Congress that xenophobia is not welcome in modern America.
The #HeForShe solidarity movement was created by UN Women to empower people around the world to stand together as a visible force for gender equality. Take a look at this action kit for ways to promote gender equality in your community. It’s no secret that women are underrepresented at all levels in elected offices across the US. Non-partisan She Should Run has created a network supporting women considering a future run for office and is committed to getting at least 250,000 women to run by 2030.
As you take small but important steps to change the world don’t give up on a future where you can also use your money for good. Check out our blog on how to launch a successful saving habit and when in doubt turn to the Personal Finance Waterfall for tips on how to prepare for responsible investing. When you have a few thousand dollars set aside OpenInvest can help you to put your money behind the causes you’re already fighting for.