I just saw an annotated listicle (is that what it’s called when it is a list with a paragraph or so plus an illustration for each numbered item?) on Bustle about 10 ways to help PP even if you’ve got a little free time.
The list was a little heavy on fundraising—and I say that as a fundraiser! Money helps, for sure, but I thought I’d add a few more ways to help Planned Parenthood if you have even a little bit of time to donate, but not much money.
1 – Register to vote. Then vote. Every time. Yes, elections happen yearly.
You’d think it wouldn’t need to be said, but vote. Vote every time. It is your right. And, it is free to vote. (If anyone tells you differently, call the Justice Department and the local news.)
Sign up for Planned Parenthood action alerts so you know what the issues are, and check out voter guides from Planned Parenthood action funds. Both the national organization, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and local affiliates, like Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast or Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, have mailing lists. So, find the branch closest to you, then sign up to get their emails; you can see a list here. Then, sign up for PPFA and the PPFA Action Fund lists. You’ll be in the know. In Texas, you should also check out Planned Parenthood Texas Votes.
Vote for candidates who will support Planned Parenthood, access to healthcare, comprehensive health insurance reform, and abortion rights. Vote for politicians who support legitimate pro-life causes like universal pre-K, paid family leave, and more. Chances are, they’ll support PP if they support policies that help families thrive.
A few extra seconds: PP isn’t the only organization that can give you the low-down on legislative and voting issues. Check out NARAL Pro-Choice America and its state affiliates, and sign up for their emails, too.
And hey, check them all out on Twitter, and Instagram, and probably 5 other social platforms I am forgetting right now.
2 – Put a sticker on your car.
Stickers are an outward and visible sign to the world that you are part of the majority of people who think that Planned Parenthood is a good thing. Let’s show everyone how many PP supporters are out there every day on the highways and byways of America
3 – Get a t-shirt. Or make one.
Same concept as the bumper sticker, but this is one that will generate conversation. It is nice to have a message on the front and back, especially so people can look at it and read it without you wondering why they are looking at your chest. People always smile or give a thumbs up when I wear mine. Sometimes, someone will tell you thank you, because they have a story of how Planned Parenthood helped them out. But sometimes, you get a chance to talk to someone about PP who never otherwise would have had the conversation. By sharing your story and the facts, you can help demystify the organization so people really understand how many awesome things it does. You can also remind people they should vote and get their own t-shirts.
Make your own. Call PP to see if they have any to sell. Or find a feminist vendor on Etsy and see what tickles your fancy.
4 – Share your story.
It is fine to keep anything you want private, but when you identify yourself as someone who goes to or used to go to Planned Parenthood, you put a face on the issue for people who might have otherwise assumed that no one they knew actually went there. Did you go with a friend to get tested for HIV in college? Rely on them when you were unemployed and had no health insurance? Get an abortion? Get life-saving treatment for cervical cancer that you could actually afford? Share your story.
5 – Send a postcard.
Props to Lizz Winstead for launching the #thankbank effort. Make a list of Planned Parenthood clinics. Near you, ones you’ve used, whatever parameters you want to use. Get a stack of postcards. Every so often, drop a postcard in the mail that simply says hey, great job, I appreciate you, thank you. Address it to the staff.
Why a postcard? Because it isn’t a security risk. As in, sadly, Planned Parenthood has to screen all mail that comes into their building, so don’t make their job any harder.
Extras for Experts – make a costume and show up at political rallies.
OK, I realize this one takes a little time, but in the larger scheme of the universe, it isn’t really that much time. And, you can use it next year as a Halloween costume.
Anyway, the idea is, you show up in costume because you will definitely get your photo in the paper, and will likely get to say something to the reporter. If you show up to a Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush rally, and the reporter feels obligated to mention Planned Parenthood, that’s great. You’ve seized control of the media narrative.
Pillamina is Planned Parenthood’s birth control pill pack mascot. She showed up earlier this year at a tailgate to put Carly “I’m a woman but I’ll throw the rest of you under the bus if it gets me elected” Fiorina on the spot.
Here’s Pillamina on her day off from protesting anti-PP political candidates, enjoying time in the park with friends.