Before we wrap up this whirlwind fall semester, and as we move into the holiday season, YAL National is announcing our final activism project of the year -- Choose Charity.
Here at YAL we have much to be thankful for, so we are taking some time to give back. Just as it's important to educate our communities and campuses about private charity and voluntary action, it's important that we practice what we preach. So we are asking all YAL members, supporters, and chapters to join us and organize a "Choose Charity" event on your campus or in your community.
Please read this guide to learn how to host your own "Choose Charity" activism event and volunteer... voluntarily.
What: Connect with a local charity to help those in need, and share the importance of private charity over government dependency at the same time!
When: Any time in November and early December. But start planning now. Your free banner can take up to three weeks to arrive, and it will take at least a couple weeks to find a local charity or reserve a high-traffic space on campus and organize your chapter.
How: Read and follow the instructions in this comprehensive guide to choose a "Choose Charity" event and execute your plan on or off campus.
Why: This is our opportunity to practice what we preach. If we believe people should take care of people, and not the government, then let's live up to that standard. And have a fun time at the same time!
Free YAL Resources for Your Chapter
YAL is offering FREE resources to every active YAL chapter to participate in Choose Charity:
Always RECRUIT! Print out plenty of YAL sign-up sheets: Download a sign-up sheet template here. Activism tip: Completely fill out the first two lines on every sign up sheet. No one wants to be the first to sign up for a new group. And if you completely fill out every field, it is more likely a student will do the same.
Print a 20 x 30 inch, customizable "Choose Charity" poster. Click the buttons below to download a white banner or blue banner to make your display look professional and instantly inform students about the charity you are supporting. You may be able to print this banner for free on campus, or at Kinkos for about $30, or make it yourself using this website.
Print out customizable flyers -- full page and 1/4 page -- to hand out to students. These flyers will inform students about your chapter and the charity you're supporting. Spread the word of liberty!
Print and distribute "Thank You" notes to those who give. Download these pre-written "Thank You" notes to give them to everyone who gives to your charity. You can edit them to include your chapter's contact information, so they can learn more about your chapter, too. It's an easy way to pick up a new recruit!
Once your chapter is committed to participating, start organizing your event. We have put together two types of events -- on-campus and off-campus -- for your chapter to review and follow. But, be creative! We want to see how you can make these ideas better.
1. On-Campus Project Ideas
Here's a detailed example of an on-campus "Choose Charity" event. Recently, we visited the YAL chapter @ American University to host our own funddrive for Miriam's Soup Kitchen in DC. It was a lot of fun and we raised $189 for this local charity.
Here are a handful of other on-campus Choose Charity ideas:
Organize a coat drive
Collect canned and boxed goods for a food bank
Collect blankets for a local homeless shelter
Organize a sponsored 5K run to benefit a charity
If you choose to do something on campus, reach out to other student organizations and encourage them to participate as well. This is a good opportunity to spread our principled message of freedom, peace, and prosperity to liberals, conservatives, and libertarians alike. Reach out to other political groups and service-oriented groups on campus and invite them to join you.
Activism tip: If your event is on-campus, make sure you reserve a high-traffic area (lots of students walking by). This is a great chance expose more students to your chapter and sign up new recruits.
2. Off-Campus Project Ideas
Here's a detailed example of an "off-campus" Choose Charity event. YAL National volunteered and cooked dinner at the local Ronald McDonald House to give you a detailed example of an off-campus "Choose Charity" event.
Here are some local community resources that may help your chapter as well:
Contact a nearby church. Historically, churches that take care of the sick, poor, and lonely. Unfortunately, more Americans nowadays are finding greater faith in government. You can change that by getting in touch with a local church and asking for suggestions to volunteer your time. Large, active churches in your area will very likely have their own charitable programs -- many have food banks and coat drives around the holidays, for instance -- or, if you don't wish to work directly with a church, they may be able to direct you to an unaffiliated local charity which is in need of support or volunteers.
Find a charity online. Search these websites to find a charity close to your campus:
If the charities nearby don't explicitly say online that they need volunteers, donations, or other support, give them a call or visit their offices anyway! Especially with colder weather and the holidays on their way, chances are they do need help, even if their website doesn't say so.
If an activism event doesn't make it in the news, did it really happen? Earning media is always easy to achieve, even if it's your campus paper. Any media attention will reach hundreds, if not thousands, more people. So how do you earn media attention?
Use these resources to learn how you can make the campus, local, state, and maybe even national news!
Post your report the YAL blog. If your a chapter officer for your chapter it's simple. Click here.
You can't be too detailed in your activism reports! Post all your pictures, give us all the details, and share with us how it felt to participate in "Choose Charity."
Do you have the best pictures and video? High quality photos are important, so take as many photos as you can, get action shots, and take a group photos at the end. Aim for at least 5 or more awesome pictures you can use in your report. If you film your activism, try to keep videos short (3-5 minutes is about the longest you'd want them to be), make them upbeat, and mix in some music. Post your video to YouTube and embed the video in your chapter report.
Did you recruit new members? With everything you do, you should register new members. Download and print the YAL sign-up form to sign up new activists. When your event is over, then upload all your new members' information to your chapter page through the "Manage Members" tool on the YAL website. If you are a chapter Officer for your chapter, then log into the site, roll over "Tools" in the top right corner, and select "Manage Members." On this page, click "upload members." Next, either download the Excel file template or manually enter the information into the provided fields for each new member. Once you upload this member information, each new member will get an email asking them to join your chapter.
Can you earn media coverage? Follow the guide above to earn local and maybe even national media attention for your Choose Charity events. Chapters that earn media attention reach a much wider audience and greater respect on campus. Include links to your media coverage in your report.
Note: Not every item on this list is required to win the contest. YAL chapters will be judged on their overall performance.
To enter your chapter in the Constitution Week contest, you must document your activism efforts by posting pictures, videos, news articles, and/or descriptions of your activities to the YAL blog. If you are a Chapter Officer for your chapter, then you should have the ability to easily write a blog post on the YAL website. Log into the website, then roll over "Tools" in the top right corner, and select "Write a Blog Post."
All entries are due by Friday, December 21. If you have any trouble posting to the YAL blog as a Chapter Officer, email YAL Director of Communications Bonnie Kristian at email@example.com.