4 easy ways to create social impact right now (+ 4 tools that can help)

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This blog originally appeared on Engage.

Looking at the current news cycle, it's hard to be optimistic about the state of the world today. It's become overwhelmingly apparent that things need to change-and they need to change for the better.

If you feel that way, don't worry. You're not alone in wanting positive social change. For example, millennials, a.k.a. Generation Y, are now the largest generation in the United States. And what motivates this particular generation is creating change in the world, both at work and in life. And many more generations and people of all walks of life feel the need to drive positive social change.

But a fair criticism of this large rise of people wanting change is how it can lead to all talk but no walk. Especially with the rise of social media, it's easy for impassioned change-wanters to fall into a trap of "slacktivism," where people confine their passion for change to tweets, Facebook posts, and hashtags and rarely any real-world actions. (Although, there is evidence showing that slacktivism can cause significant real-world impact.) Still, it's one thing to want change, but it's an entirely other thing to actually create change.

Luckily, for those wanting to start walking the walk, there's some easy ways to mobilize your passion to create a positive social impact.

4 Easy Ways to Create Social Impact Right Now

Put your money where your mouth is.

Taking action with your wallet is one of the easiest ways to start making a positive social change. We as consumers spend so much money on products or services that may not be ethical, humane, or in line with our personal values.

Instead, do research on what you're spending on. Does the company have ethical practices? Does the company treat its workers humanely? Is the company environmentally sustainable? There's even an app that will help you with your research appropriately called "Buycott," in which you can just scan the product's barcode and it will tell you any issues others may have with that product.

Bottom line is that you should be informed on where your dollars and cents go, and refuse to add to the bottom line of companies that don't deserve your hard-earned money.

Get involved in your community politically.

More and more people are getting involved with their communities and taking local political action.

Civic engagement at the local level makes more of an immediate impact, especially since local, county, city, and state government officials often affect more of your day-to-day life. Even the larger issues such as racism, income inequality, gun rights, religious liberty, and many more need a measured approach in urging action from all government officials, not just those in Congress or in the Oval Office.

Being informed on the issues that are in front of your representatives and urging your reps to take action is another way you can start making a positive social impact right in your local community.

As always, there are tools that can help you take the next step in local political engagement. One such tool is Countable, a website that aims to empower voters with information on who their representatives are and what issues are before them.

Donate to organizations you support.

There are lots of organizations that are already mobilizing their efforts to create positive social change. Another way you can create a social impact is to consider supporting these organizations.

Donating to organizations has become easier than ever with GoFundMe, Fundly, JustGive, and many more. But one of the easiest ways to dip your toes into donating is by using AmazonSmile.

More than likely, you're shopping on Amazon already. By starting your shopping at the AmazonSmile domain, Amazon themselves will donate to the organization you choose while you shop. For example, if you choose a non-profit online graduate university like Claremont Lincoln University (CLU) as your chosen AmazonSmile organization, with every purchase you make, Amazon themselves will donate a small percentage on your behalf towards CLU.

Volunteer your time to good causes.

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Lastly, volunteering is a great way to create a positive social impact in your own community. By volunteering your time and effort to a cause you support, it can go a long way in making a local, actionable difference. Even something as minimal as putting together a couple of meals in a lunch-bag and handing them out can go a long way in tackling hunger in your local community.

A great way to see what causes or organizations you can support is through VolunteerMatch, a website that matches the volunteer with the appropriate cause or organization. The site lists all the various volunteer opportunities in your area, based on what you care about most.

For those wanting to turn their passion into action, these are just four of the easiest ways to start making a difference right now. But for those who want to take their passion for change to the next level, taking a formal graduate program to educate yourself on how to create sustainable, local change may be worthwhile, as well.

Either way, all it takes is one person to start making a social impact in your community. And there's no better time than right now!

About Claremont Lincoln University

Claremont Lincoln University is an online nonprofit graduate university that offers innovative, 21st Century educational programs with the purpose to provide engagement skills to the next generation of leaders around the world. The mission of CLU is to put ideas and ideals into action utilizing a proprietary Claremont Core methodology to cultivate the engagement skills of mindfulness, dialogue and collaboration that transcend cultural, religious, ideological, and economic barriers. The university offers Masters programs in Social Impact, Ethical Leadership and Interfaith Action. Students are taught to integrate self-knowledge with critical perspectives and contemporary engagement skills to create sustainable social change in any career pathway.

For more information, visit http://www.claremontlincoln.edu/ or connect on Twitter @C_Lincoln_Univ and Facebook at www.facebook.com/claremontlincoln.

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