The Points of Light Civic Circle helps individuals connect to opportunities and understand that doing good comes in many forms. It is a framework that represents your power to lead, lend support and take action for causes you care about and to engage more fully in civic life. Here we offer nine apps that will give you actionable steps to bring the Civic Circle to life in your own community today and every day.
Donating new or lightly used items seems straightforward, but it has the power to change someone’s circumstances and, ultimately, the trajectory of their life. Purposity connects requests for donations to potential donors in a community. School systems and nonprofits in local communities share their needs – for items like clothing, household goods and other supplies – and Purposity spreads the word to individuals nearby.
Listen & Learn: Black History Facts
Listening and learning about a cause or a community before jumping in to help is crucial for effective civic engagement that honors the experiences and perspectives of others. And doing this might be as easy as listening to a podcast or scrolling an app! With over 500 incredible facts across 11 distinct categories of history. The Black History Facts App brings millennia of historical knowledge directly to your fingertips!
Purchase Power: Buycott
Your dollar speaks volumes about your values. Choosing where to spend your money and ensuring the companies you support are aligned with your values doesn’t need to take hours of research. The Buycott app lets you join campaigns to support causes you care about. You can use their built-in barcode scanner to learn a product’s history, make purchase decisions on products and communicate your decisions to companies.
Service: Causes – Impact Your World
Maybe you’re interested in flexing your service muscle by running for school board president or Congress. Or maybe you simply want to support the candidates and causes you care about from a more informed place. Either way, Causes makes it possible to keep up with the current issues and trending bills and understand how they impact your world.
Social Entrepreneur: ImpactWayv
Social entrepreneurs find creative ways to solve some of the world’s toughest issues, whether through the products they create, the services they offer or how they spend their profits. A platform that unites people, businesses and nonprofits to drive collective impact across causes and communities. You can explore the social impact performance of companies and nonprofits, share and get involved in their social good efforts.
Voting is one of the central tenets of democracy. Besides ensuring that you vote in every eligible election, championing the right for all people to vote is part of leading a civic life. ActiVote is changing the way citizens engage with their government. This app educates voters on important issues, when and where they can cast their vote, connects them with their elected officials and allows them to make their voice heard by quickly answering key polling questions.
Voice: Mobile JusticeTM
Whether at a protest, a polling place or on the go, the ACLU’s free Mobile Justice smartphone application allows users to: Record encounters with public officials and law enforcement while streaming to your closest contacts and your local chapter; report any abuse by authorities to the ACLU and its networks; and empower yourself with up-to-date information regarding your rights as well as important actions and happenings in your area.
Volunteer: Points of Light Engage
Volunteers lend their time and talent to carry the causes they care about. There are hundreds of thousands of volunteer opportunities throughout the world just waiting for the right volunteer to step up. Search the Points of Light database for volunteer opportunities, inside and outside of the home, that meet critical needs. The world is waiting for you to shine your light.
Civic engagement belongs in all spheres of your influence, including your work. When you want your paycheck to incorporate your convictions, Idealist is one excellent way to get there. You can find a job with any number of mission-driven nonprofit organizations on their website database, then download their app to connect with fellow idealists in your area. Use these tools to make a difference in the community where you live, work, and play.
No matter how you choose to lead a more civically engaged life, these apps can help take concrete steps toward your own goals around creating change in your community. Pick two or three that you want to try out for the issues you’re most passionate about.