Starting your own campaign

Sometimes you can't wait for the crowd or rely on anyone else. Sometimes you are the only one with the passion, the energy and the determination to address a particular problem. Sometimes you just have to do it yourself.

While there are hundreds of thousands of organisations across the country that involve volunteers, you might feel that the issue you care about most is not currently being tackled.

Perhaps there is a problem in your local area - a lack of facilities for young people, for example. Or perhaps you are concerned about the closure of a hospital, or the building of a new road, or the treatment of asylum seekers.

Most charities start with someone caring so much about an issue that they decide to do something about it, and there's no reason why you can't do the same, however much it seems that the odds are stacked against you.

The name for people who do it themselves is 'social entrepreneurs': people who set up projects or organisations, people with the verve and determination to plug a gap that other people haven't even noticed.

There have been social entrepreneurs for as long as there has been society but the term itself is relatively new.

There are organisations aimed at them, such as Unltd, and CAN, and even dedicated training from places like the School for Social Entrepreneurs.

Where to start

It probably makes sense to put some effort into finding out about people and organisations that share your concerns before storming ahead on your own.

You might find there is a group you can join, and that combined efforts stand more chance of success. Equally, you shouldn't assume that the relevant authorities will necessarily be opposed to what you are trying to do.

For example, if you have an idea for reducing crime in your neighbourhood, the local crime prevention officer will be only too pleased to hear. You can contact them via your local police force.

Even if you do feel that you're going to have to start from scratch, there are lots of organisations that can offer you advice and support. You could contact your local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) or your local Volunteer Centre. They'll be able to advise you about relevant local organisations.

Citizens Advice Bureaus are another good source of help. You can find your local one from the Citizens Advice website. If you really want to go the whole hog and set up your own charity, you've got lots of reading to do at the Charity Commission website!

Article produced by the Choose Action Alliance.

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