Dream Career: Activist
Do you want to make the world a better place? As an activist you would work for a cause you believe in to make the world a better place socially, politically, or environmentally.
What They Do
Activists work for organizations ranging from Amnesty International to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in an effort to improve issues on a local, national, global level. While all activists have their passion for and commitment to their causes in common, each contributes to their cause with their unique talents and skills.
Organizations that hire activists need people who can perform many job functions. Activists do some everyday tasks like stuffing envelopes, making phone calls, and office work, and some major activities, like staging awareness events, working with the press, and raising money to support their causes. Some travel to remote and dangerous parts of the world.
No matter what set of skills you bring to your job as an activist, you will find most activists doing some or all of the following:
Who is Likely to Succeed
The most important trait of successful activists is their passion for the causes they believe in. They are dedicated to helping others, altruistic, and generous. They are wonderful communicators, enjoy working with volunteers, and relish the possibility of making the world a better place.
Successful activists donít mind moving out of their comfort zones to approach their work. They are patient and deal well with conflict. Activists are team players and keep the big picture in mind.
How to Learn It
Breaking into a career in activism is a process of exploring the causes that are meaningful to you, and assessing the skills you have that you can use to join the cause. Use the Internet to research websites of activist organizations that interest you and attend meetings and events for organizations that you find the most interesting.
Some activists pursue higher education in political science or social studies, or through courses like those offered by the Institute for Policy Studiesí Social Action and Leadership School for Activists in Washington, DC. This program offers courses in areas like Starting a Successful Nonprofit, and Techno-Activism.
One advantage of a career in activism is that you can begin today even without formal training, just by following your inclinations and passions and getting involved in organizations that interest youeven for a few hours a week, or month. Work for social change in your own community, or get involved in local politics.
Each nonprofit organization has a variety of jobs that need to be done. Getting a job as an activist is a process of matching your passions and your talents to an organization that needs them both. Many activists who work in paid positions began their careers by joining the organizations as volunteers or interns. Some volunteers and interns who prove themselves are invited to take paid positions.
There are also a variety of valuable books available that can benefit the beginning activist. Good Works: A Guide to Careers in Social Change by Donna Colvin provides more than 1,000 activist organizations that have job opportunities for those interested in social change.
by Tag and Catherine Goulet:
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