What is Secular Week of Action?
Secular Week of Action (SWoA) harnesses the commitment of changemaking communities across the globe to: organize service events based around shared values, connect new volunteers to impactful projects in their own towns and neighborhoods, and celebrate what human beings can achieve together when we dedicate ourselves to ethical action.
Why Do We Need a Secular Week of Action?
SWoA offers a relevant, meaningful alternative to the National Day of Prayer in the United States, a day set aside in federal law for the people to “turn to God in prayer.” This government-sponsored day excludes secular people; people whose traditions do not include prayer; and anyone who does not see prayer as an adequate response to national and international crises.
Here are some ideas for actions you can take. Ideas range from big group events to small group events to ways to make an impact as an individual or family. Big or small all action has an impact.
Start a Monthly Giveaway
Regularly providing food and basic needs to unhoused and food insecure people is a direct way to have an impact on the health and wellbeing of those in your family. For some tips and suggestions for getting started see GO Humanity’s Giveaway Guide.
Organize an In-kind Collection
Members of your group can gather needed food or items and donate them to support unhoused or food insecure people. Before inviting people to contribute to your collection, find out from the beneficiary organization what their urgent needs are and focus on collecting those items. Shelters are often asking for essentials like toilet paper, soap, warmth items, and menstrual hygiene products. Search for a shelter or Feeding America food bank in your area. See GO Humanity’s In-kind Collection Guide for tips and ideas.
Build a Free Little Pantry
A free little pantry is an easy way for neighbors to help neighbors by providing free food and hygiene supplies. See GO Humanity’s Free Little Pantry Guide and the Little Free Pantry website for more tips and ideas.
Deliver Meals for Vulnerable Neighbors
Donate to or volunteer with Meals on Wheels America or with a local mutual aid group to get nutrition to people who need it.
Start a Community Garden
Community gardens help green your community, restore native plants, and produce can be donated to help address food insecurity. GO Humanity’s Community Garden Guide will help you get started.
Craft for Good
Crafters can support unhoused people by making needed items and donating them directly or through local shelters. Unhoused people can use sleeping mats and reusable bags any time of year. Shelters and giveaways often accept warm weather gear all year long to be prepared when the cold weather hits. See GO Humanity’s Craft for Good Guide that includes craft ideas and patterns.
Create a Mutual Aid Group
Start a neighborhood/organizational mutual aid shared Google Doc, social media group page, or Google Form for people to share their needs and how they can help.
Fundraise for a Shelter, Food Bank, or other organization
Nonprofits across the country could use your unrestricted donations to help them fill the holes that restricted and in-kind donations leave. Fundraise for your local nonprofit and have fun doing it. See GO Humanity’s collection of fundraising tips and ideas. Search for a shelter or Feeding America food bank in your area.
Plant a Tree (or two)
Planting a tree is one of the most impactful ways an individual can address climate change. Imagine the impact you can have as a group! See GO Humanity’s Plant a Tree Guide.
Blood supply has not been keeping up with demand. Banks need a larger supply of eligible donors, ready and willing to help. Everyone in your group can sign up to donate individually or you can organize a blood drive. See GO Humanity’s Blood Drive Guide.
Advocate to End Discriminatory Blood Donation Policies
Despite high demand for blood, millions of U.S. residents cannot donate due to a discriminatory policies that exclude men who have sex with men. To learn more about this issue and what you might do to end the policy see GO Humanity’s Blood Donation Advocacy Guide.
Park or Highway Cleanup
Cleanups are easy and popular service events. And are great events for kids! See GO Humanity’s Park Cleanup Guide for tips.
Start a Little Free Library
Building a Little Free Library in your community helps lower barriers to reading in general and also to books celebrating diverse voices. GO Humanity has a quick guide to building a Little Free Library and the organization Little Free Library has a lot of information and resources.
Volunteer with a Local Organization
If you don’t have a lot of time and/or people to organize your own event, rallying your group to volunteer with a local organization is a quick and easy way to have an impact. Get in touch with a local organization you would like to support and find out what their process is to do group volunteering and go from there. Get in touch as soon as possible in order to secure a date during Secular Week of Action!
Participate in online research projects of all kinds, from classifying galaxies to counting penguins to transcribing manuscripts.
Help make historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible by transcribing field notes, diaries, ledgers, logbooks, currency proof sheets, photo albums, manuscripts, and biodiversity specimens labels.
Help researchers learn the best ways to break down stereotypes by taking tests about attitudes, stereotypes and other hidden biases that influence perception, judgment, and action.
United Nations Online Volunteering
Volunteers contribute directly to the work of development organizations, working from a computer, tablet, or mobile phone anywhere in the world.
Top Things to Keep in Mind
Have a brainstorming session to decide what makes the most sense for your group.
Choose one person to organize, but make sure to delegate tasks. Know who the backup is for top organizers.
Keep up with the latest info from your local public health department.
Check your sources
Communicate timely and accurate information from credible sources. Help counter stigma and discrimination.
Consider partnering with other local groups.
Safeguard your money
If you are collecting money to support community members, make sure multiple people are involved and record when and where money is spent or distributed.
Bigger doesn't necessarily mean better
Remember that you don’t need dozens of people for a successful event.
Report your impact
SWoA is first and foremost about acting. But it's also about celebrating the impact we can have when we all act together. When your action is done, don't forget to send a report what you did and what impact you had!
Help spread the word
Share the Week of Action Website
Help raise the visibility of the secular community and the work we are all doing to make positive change.
Whether you’re participating in a virtual group activity or as an individual, find creative ways to photograph your servicework and share online to inspire others. See GO Humanity’s Taking Great Pictures guide.
Live stream on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or other platforms. Are you working on a creative project? Interact with your audience while you work. Take suggestions from viewers as you go, or auction off creative choices! Make sure to talk about your activity regularly in advance so people know to tune in.
Network with other groups
Like, follow, and share the posts of other volunteer groups across the country to support one another’s work!
Use the hashtags #SecularAction #SecularValues and #WeekOfAction
SIGNUP FOR ACTION!
Secular Week of Action Events
Michigan Humanists hold a workday every year at the Long Lake Outdoor Center. We stain buildings, move leaves into the woods, clear trails, inspect cabins, and do minor repair jobs to prepare the campground for the summer season. Michigan Humanists also then use this campground on a weekend in July for our annual Secular Summer Retreat!
Secular Week of Action Pledges
I commit to volunteering my time to help make a difference during Secular Week of Action!
|Patrick DSalt Lake City, Utah United States||Salt Lake City, Utah United States||Citizen Science|
|Rikki G New Zealand||New Zealand||Local Community Organization or Cause - Hunger or Homelessness|
|Wendy WTX United States||TX United States||Local Community Organization or Cause - Hunger or Homelessness|
|Chris SGrand Rapids, MI United States||Grand Rapids, MI United States||Education|