Social change comes in many varieties. It’s not just news-making movements or curing disease. Much simpler acts, which might only affect one person, can have as much of an impact as larger actions. Let’s explore a few small things you can do to make a big social change impact.
Small, random acts of kindness—like smiling at a stranger or holding the door open for someone—can be a great way to make a social change impact. Sometimes these random acts of kindness even start a ripple effect that can spread far beyond the first actor.1 The great thing is that it doesn’t take much effort or planning to create a positive impact. Studies show that simple acts of kindness can actually make the person doing them happier and can even have positive health benefits.2 Even if the act itself is small, the impact for both the beneficiary and the actor can be large.
A mission-first business is a way business owners can make a social change impact. A mission-first business can still operate as a for-profit enterprise, but is oriented around a socially impactful mission. The business emphasizes making a positive impact on society and not just on profits. The more a mission-first business grows, the larger social impact it can make.3 Combining business success with social change can prove good for business. Customers will often seek out mission-first businesses based on the social impact created. Business owners looking to make a big social change impact should consider running a mission-first business.
You don’t have to start a new organization to make a positive impact on your community. Instead, you can volunteer with an organization working for social change. By volunteering your time, you can help these organizations and allow them to continue providing the services the community relies on.4 A specific skillset is often not needed. An organization might need help serving meals, tutoring children, or handing out materials. While these are all simple acts, they can be very helpful to the organization and can make a significant impact on the community.
Any business knows buyers have power. This means that consumers can create a social change impact by only buying goods from socially conscious companies.5 Companies will notice if many consumers stop buying their products. When enough people support socially conscious companies, the unethical companies will be forced to acquiesce or risk going out of business. This demonstrates that when enough people carry out a simple act, like supporting socially conscious companies, it can lead to a big social change impact.
There are many large and small ways to make a positive social change. Attending a college or university that supports social change can be a great way to enhance your positive impact after earning a degree. Colleges and universities can support social change by helping students apply new skills, expand their networks, gain deeper knowledge, and consider a variety of perspectives to better address practical problems. Another way to support social change is for colleges and universities to establish service days in which students and staff volunteer time and resources to their communities.
Positive social change can be accomplished in large and small ways. Social change can be as simple as a smile, holding a door, planting a garden, or supporting a socially conscious company. Regardless of the size of the gesture, big social change impacts are possible.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.