Letting Your Lil Light Shine | day 21: realize your influence

You have influence.

Do you know that?

We all have influence. Either with a few close friends and family members, or with coworkers, or with strangers who read our writing or buy our products. We have influence through our words and our actions, and through our online presence and our in-real-life presence. We have influence to bring down or to lift up--to discourage or to encourage.

How are you using your influence? Because you have one, and it's worth using intentionally.
At The Influence Conference, I learned from a workshop called, "Social Media for Social Good." Marisa, current social media director for fashionABLE, and Annie, previous social media director for Mocha Club, shared about using our online influences to support nonprofits.

Ideas on realizing and focusing our influence...

1 | Start with asking: Who do I want to speak for? What moves my heart?

The point is to not spread your voice so thin that people tune you out. Promoting every good cause loses the impact of your influence. Ask God. See where He leads you to support and where He's leading you to influence others to support.

You can go deep with your inlfuence, or you can go wide. Going deep means you choose a specific nonprofit or a specific cause to support, then use your influence to spread the word about it. Going wide means you choose a broader need (i.e., hunger in Africa) and support/promote a variety of nonprofits, fundraisers and causes who all help meet that need.

2 | Think locally + globally.

We are not limited to support only local or global missions. Supporting near and far will look different and use a variety of your skills. Local support might involve volunteering at a soup kitchen or raising awareness that a local food pantry is low. Global support could involve volunteering for a fundraising event or spreading the word to raise funds.

3 | Get involved, proactively + reactively.

Smaller nonprofits (and there are many!) aren't as connected. As regular Facebookers, Tweeters, Pinteresters, Bloggers, our online presence gives us experience/expertise they could use. Contact the nonprofit, and suggest a way you could volunteer your time or services, or share your skillset and ask what they need.

Also, respond when they ask for a specific type of help.

It's all about authenticity--using your influence to either raise awareness or raise money--both impacting in big ways.

Check back in next Sunday for Part 2: use your influence.

Reading Lorilee's book 3-2-1 Stop, I appreciated her chapter on giving. It was so refreshing to see her use her influence in such a positive and relevant way. I saw this as a huge way she lets her light shine for God, so I asked how she and her family let their lights shine in the world around them--especially in regards to supporting local and global charities.

Here is Lorilee's response...

>> We sponsor 2 kids with World Vision and have helped promote the organization as we can.  We love Kiva loans, and look for other charities as we are able that can make the most of our money to help a hurting world.

It is amazing how many charities are around us all the time if we keep our eyes open and practice saying 'yes'.  A reader sent me The Volunteer Family which has some great opportunities on it.

There are needs all around us as well as needs all around the world.  I don't ever have trouble finding charities, I have trouble deciding which ones to help.  I like checking sites on Charity Navigator to see more about the companies.  I think we can be involved by both giving financially as well as telling others.

Locally we are involved with the food bank and a food delivery program. Internationally we are involved with World Vision, Kiva, Samaritans Purse, and others as we see the need. <<