Finding Time to Care: How to Combat Slacktivism

Social Solutions Blog

Finding Time to Care: How to Combat Slacktivism

I get it. I am a corporate working mother of two young boys under the age of four. My husband also works a corporate job. I try to leave close to 5pm every day so I can rush to daycare to pick up the boys, rush home to make dinner, rush upstairs to give the boys baths, rush into their rooms to read books and then rush them to bed. It is now 8:30pm. I check my work email and tie up a few work items then I have about one hour to connect with my husband before I fall asleep on the couch. Then I am up at 5am to start the day all over again.

Busy People. Busy Lives.

We live in a busy world with many distractions and with the number of things we all have going on, it is no surprise that many people have less and less time to care. Because of this, we’ve started to see terms like “Slacktivist” and “Slacktivism” show up in the nonprofit world. The Wikipedia definition states that “Slacktivist” activities include signing Internet petitions, joining a community organization without contributing to the organization’s efforts, copying and pasting of social network statuses or messages or altering one’s personal data or avatar on social network services. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS describes the term “slacktivist” as “people who support a cause by performing simple measures and are not truly engaged or devoted to making a change”.

But is it really a surprise that Slacktivism is showing up as the norm for many folks? You like a cause or a nonprofit organization on Facebook, you retweet a nonprofit’s post on Twitter to show your support. “Likes” on Facebook don’t put funds in a nonprofits’ hands. Likes and retweets don’t feed children, clothe babies, purify water or change the world.

So What is the Solution?

How do we find time to care in a busy world with our busy lives? I am guilty of this too. I am a slacktivist. How do I find the time to care?

While trying to answer this question, I came across a page on the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley website, who compiled a list to help all of us answer this very question. I have listed a few key ideas below:

  1. Combine family time with volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to spend quality time with the family while passing your values to your children.
  2. Volunteer while you are at work. Many companies allow time for volunteering. Check with your employer.
  3. Make a specific volunteer opportunity a weekly, monthly, or even yearly tradition so it is just as important as a birthday or holiday.
  4. Make of list of volunteer activities that do not require a commitment and keep them handy. When you have a little free time, you can spontaneously decide to participate.
  5. Use spring cleaning as an opportunity to donate clothing and household items in good condition to charity.

These are just a few ideas to help us all devote some of our time into the causes we care about and start combating “Slacktivism”. No more excuses! If you have other ideas about finding time to care, volunteer and change the world, we would love to hear them. Please post a comment below! Click here for the complete list of volunteering ideas from the United Way of Massechusetts Bay.

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