Guide to social action and getting started

Social action means taking steps to change the things that are wrong in our society and introducing new ideas and processes for doing things better in the future.

Social action is about people coming together to help improve their lives and solve the problems that are important in their communities. It can include volunteering, giving money, community action or simple everyday neighbourly giving

Examples of social action can vary from organising local litter picks or campaigning to save the local pub right up to society changing moments such as the actions of Emily Pankhurst, Rosa Parks or Fathers for Justice.

So you don’t just have sit back and complain about a problem; you can step up and help out for the greater good. Of course you can personally go it alone and change something for the better, but if you want to involve others then here’s some help..

Tip 1: Can everyone understand your call to action?

Awareness is only one part of the equation. A clear call to action like ‘are you fed up with dangerous speeding drivers in our village? ’is critical to success. Knowing what you want to achieve will allow you to share potential results, inspire your supporters, and ensure that everyone participating is promoting the same cause…and once someone has signed on to help you, ask them to invite at least one other person!

Tip 2: Know your audience

Once you’ve determined a call to action, target your audience. If you’re raising awareness about education reform, get parents involved. Trying to clean an area of litter? Reach out to local residents. Core supporters of your message will be integral to helping spread the word about your event and be your biggest supports on the day.

Tip 3: Keep it personal

Once you identify helpers to your cause, reach out individually. Yes this takes time, but a personal approach will go a long way to ensure their support. As word spreads, many participants will respond to social media requests etc, but going the extra mile and inviting someone will grow your core of people as passionate as you

Tip 4: Don’t let it roll on forever

It’s tempting to reach out months in advance to ensure greater support, but if you drag it out too long, interest will tail off. You may consider following four-week timeline:

  • Week 1: Recruitment
  • Week 2: Build buzz online or other communication
  • Week 3: Energize your supporter base
  • Week 4: Launch, spread the message, and track results

Tip 5: Go for it!

And make our community a better place!

Further reading…

#iwill campaign
#iwill is a national campaign that aims to make social action part of life for as many 10 to 20 year-olds as possible by the year 2020. Through collaboration and partnership it is spreading the word about the benefits of youth social action, working to embed it in the journey of young people and create fresh opportunities for participation. The campaign is being coordinated by the charity Step Up To Serve, governed by an independent board and has cross-party support.


If you have any questions, or would like to know more, contact the CAS Volunteering Team at volunteering@communityactionsuffolk.org.uk or 01473 345400.