Often times, government policies may be guided by the noble notion of assisting those in need, but these policies remove individuals’ choice to give because they want to, not because they have to.

Just as it’s important to educate our communities and campuses about the power of private charity and voluntary action, it’s important to practice what we preach. So we are asking all YAL members, supporters, and chapters to join us and organize a “Choose Charity” event on your campus or in your community.

Partner with local charities to give back to your community.

The three goals of every activism event are to:

  1. Educate new students in the ideas of liberty
  2. Recruit new members for your YAL chapter
  3. Earn media attention for your event to expand its outreach
No matter how your chapter decides to choose charity, following these steps will ensure that you optimize the outcome of your event:
  • Reach out to YAL’s Leadership Team for support: YAL’s Leadership Team is your number-one tool for success. Find a YAL leader near you who can help you execute your activism event. Your Regional Director and the State Chairs in your area are your best resource for learning how to organize an effective activism event. If either position has not yet been filled, learn more and apply to join the Leadership Team here.
    1. Apply for resources: YAL is offering FREE resources and recommendations to every participating YAL chapter:
      • An activism grant for up to $100 that your chapter can apply for if you plan on doing a recruitment event as a part of your Choose Charity activism.
      • A recruitment kit packed with materials, clip boards, sidewalk chalk, books, flyers, a political quiz and chart, and everything else you’ll need to draw students to your chapter.
    2. Always recruit for liberty: With every activism event you do, you should recruit new members. Print out plenty of YAL sign-up sheets to sign up interested students. When your event is over, use the Member Upload Tool to upload all your new members’ information to your chapter page. Once you upload member information, each new member will get an email asking them to join your chapter.
    3. Make your plans:

    Meet up with your chapter members and plan the dates and details for your activism event. Take some time to brainstorm and put your ideas on paper. After a productive meeting, you should walk away with a clear and executable plan with specific tasks assigned to your members.

    Ask yourselves some basic questions: What do you want to do? Who is going to do what? When are you going to do it? How much preparation time is needed? When are you going to meet again to prepare?

    Always keep in mind the three most important goals for any activism project:

    1. Recruit new members
    2. Educate your classmates
    3. Earn media attention

    For each activism event, there are two major components:

    1. An on-campus tabling exercise, including visual display and/or interactive quiz, to recruit new members and promote your upcoming Choose Charity meeting/event.
    2. A large chapter meeting/event to educate all attendees and discuss the issue you are addressing. This could be a speaker, PowerPoint presentation, politician, professor, movie, and/or general discussion.

    Choose an event

    Decide how you want to choose charity. Check out what other chapters have done, or execute your own innovative idea and share it with the rest of the network on the YAL blog.

    On campus event ideas

  • Build a house
  • Have a food drive
  • Help a soup kitchen
  • Hold a fundraiser
  • Have a toy drive
  • Organizing a coat drive
  • Collecting canned and boxed goods for a food bank
  • Collecting blankets for a local homeless shelter
  • Organizing a sponsored 5K run to benefit a charity
  • Reach out to other student organizations and encourage them to participate as well. This is a good opportunity to share the message of liberty with students who care about charitable activity.

    If your event is on-campus, make sure you reserve a high foot traffic area to maximize your outreach. This is a great chance to get more students to support your charity and sign up to join your YAL chapter.

    Off-campus event ideas

  • Volunteer for children
  • Neighborhood clean up
  • Assist hurting families
  • Food bank volunteering
  • Reclaim a park
  1. Reserve a high-traffic area to table on campus once you have picked your dates for execution and if you plan on accepting donations for your charity at your table. As a recognized student organization, it should be as simple as contacting your student affairs office and jumping through the necessary hoops to receive permission to table.
  2. If your YAL chapter is not yet officially recognized by your university and it won’t let you reserve tabling space, don’t fear. Get creative, and always remember that there are plenty of ways to help your charity without a table.If your campus gives you any trouble and tries to relegate your activism to a “free speech zone,” please contact us so we can help you defeat these unconstitutional regulations.
  3. Reserve a classroom and the necessary video equipment, to accommodate your goals for your follow-up event.  Your follow-up event is where you can bring it all together and show the people you reached why we all can choose charity. Predict how many students you think will attend, and reserve a room to accommodate.Pro tip: Always reserve rooms that are only big enough to accommodate 75% of the amount of people you expect to show up. It is better for everyone to think that your event ended up having standing room when you host it in a smaller room rather than that no one showed up when you host it in a large auditorium.We strongly suggest that you walk through the room before the event, so you understand how the equipment works and how to set up the room properly.
  4. Build a giant display: If your chapter has participated in “Constitution Week” and built a Free Speech Wall, then don’t let your display go to waste. Learn how to turn your Free Speech Wall into a “Choose Charity” display.
  5. Print a 20 x 30 inch, customizable “Choose Charity” poster. Click the buttons below to download a white or blue banner to make a professional display and show students which charity you are supporting. You may be able to print this banner for free on campus, or at print store for about $30.
                                                                             Blue White
  6. Print out customizable flyers — full page and 1/4 page — to hand out to students. These flyers will inform students about your chapter, the charity you’re supporting, and what it really means to choose charity. 
                                Small Color Small Black Large Flyer Large Black
  7. Print and distribute “Thank You” notes to those who give. You can edit these pre-written notes to include your chapter’s contact information. It’s an easy way to expand the outreach of your event and give thanks to those who choose charity.
                                                                             Small Color Small Black

However your YAL chapter decides to choose charity, make sure that you’ve planned ahead to ensure a productive and rewarding activism event.

Identify a local charity

Use Charity Navigator

  • Sign up for an account at no cost
  • Use Advanced Search
  • Fill in your Zip Code (you can see charities within select radius)
  • Select the box for “Receives $0 in government support”
  • In the scope of work, select “All”
  • After hitting submit, sort by rating and pick one of the best

If the charities nearby don’t explicitly say online that they need help, give them a call or visit their offices anyway. Chances are they do need help, even if their website doesn’t say so.  

Pro tip: Large, active churches in your area will very likely have their own charitable programs. Many have food banks and coat drives around the holidays. Even if you choose not to work directly with them, they may be able to direct you to a local charity in need. 

Once you choose a charity to support, get in touch with them to determine what ways your YAL chapter can get involved. Ask them what kinds of donations they accept, if there is any training necessary for your volunteers, and if you can interview someone who works at the charity for when you report your activism. 

Decide how you will partner with your charity


Call a chapter meeting to determine how to proceed:

Discuss the charity you’ve chosen to ensure everyone in the chapter is familiar with its mission and why it was selected.

Determine what other groups on campus, as well as local businesses, churches, and charitable organizations might want to join your project.

Think of all the tasks involved. Consider appointing specific members to various roles to give them ownership over an aspect of the event.

Event Director: Someone who communicates with the charity, puts together a schedule, purchases all the materials, and handles the logistics of the event.

Outreach Director: Someone who recruits other members and reaches out to other campus organizations to participate.

Documentarian: Someone who takes plenty of pictures and films your activism. This is an important role, so your chapter can share your activism story in a stand-out blog post.

Media Director: Someone to send out press releases and contact members of the media to gain attention for your event and increase your potential supporters.

Many charities will already have a list of activities for which they need volunteers, as well as specific supplies which they’re lacking. Be sure to listen to the charity’s needs rather than imply deciding how you want to help. Too often, charities will have groups of enthusiastic people who are well-intentioned but unwilling to listen and cooperate for the most effective results.

Start volunteering!

Once you’ve coordinated with your charity to plan the right event, each chapter member with a designated role should take action.


Set a schedule which works for the charity — and then get everyone in your chapter to follow it. This schedule should include everyone’s responsibility and when it should be executed.

At the end of the day, be sure to thank the charity for allowing you to volunteer and for the good work they do on a regular basis to voluntarily help those in need.

They play a hugely important role in our communities and often go without recognition.
Bring a thank-you card with you and have everyone in your chapter sign it — you’ll be sure to brighten the staffers’ day!

Even if it’s your campus paper, getting media attention for your activism event can reach hundreds, if not thousands, more people. Use these resources to learn how you can make the news at the campus, local, state, or even national level! 

Host a productive follow-up meeting/event

You only have one chance to make a good first impression. Your first meeting after your tabling event should set the proper tone you want to convey as a chapter. That’s why YAL created a guide to running a successful meeting so that you can know exactly how to retain your new members with your meeting.

Here are some great resources for your informational meeting.

Follow up or fail

Sign-ups are worth nothing if you don’t execute a proper follow up with each new contact you have and get them to your follow-up event.

This is the perfect time to talk with the new students that you engaged with during your project about the importance of understanding the dangers of wealth redistribution.

Follow up in multiple ways

Don’t rely on email follow ups: no one reads them besides the government. Be sure to give each interested student a personal phone call and ask them if they can come to your next meeting. Remember, students are more likely to follow through with something that they verbally commit to do.

After you’ve called everyone, send a follow up text the day of your event to round up any stragglers who wouldn’t show up otherwise. Try something like this:

“Hey [name], this is [name] from YAL. Thanks for stopping by our Choose Charity event the other day. It was great getting meeting you. We’re all getting ready for our follow-up meeting and social right now. Can’t wait to see you at [time]!”

Email will only serve as a good reminder to those whom you’ve already reached by phone, text, and social media.


Host your event featuring a speaker, a documentary screening or a presentation as soon as possible. Your event should be within a couple days of your tabling activities so students don’t forget.

Schedule the meeting during an evening time slot which will conflict with the fewest number of classes possible, and don’t schedule events (other than socials) on weekends — don’t give your new recruits any reason not to attend!

At the meeting, begin by introducing YAL and explain how to get involved in your chapter. Next, screen your film or give your speaker the floor. After the meeting, offer an opportunity to socialize by going out for pizza, drinks, or whatever works best for your chapter to discuss the meeting and the ideas of liberty.

Conduct follow ups consistently even after students have come to their first YAL meeting. Consistent communication with students is the only way to ensure that they establish lasting friendships within your chapter, and therefore, stay involved after their first exposure to YAL.

Use the Member Upload Tool to upload all your new members’ information to your chapter page.

You can greatly increase the impact of your chapter’s activism efforts by documenting and sharing your story with other YAL activists on the YAL national blog. If you’re a chapter officer, it’s simple: Click here.

Learn how to properly document your activism event. Read this quick guide or watch this short (and funny) video to learn how you can submit the best activism blog posts.

  • Have detailed reports: Post all your pictures, give us all the details, and share with us how students reacted to your constitutional activism.
  • Include your best pictures and video: Take as many photos as you can including action shots and group photos. Aim for at least 5 awesome pictures in your report. Include short videos (about 3-4 minutes). Make them upbeat, and mix in some music. Post your video to YouTube and embed the video in your chapter report.
  • Include how many recruits you got: A primary goal of every activism event is to recruit new members into your YAL chapter. Share in your blog post how many sign-ups you got, how many participants you had in your event, and how many students you engaged overall.
  • Include all of your earned media: Chapters that earn media attention reach a much wider audience and greater respect on campus. Include links to all of your media coverage in your report.

Once your chapter has conducted a successful Choose Charity event, it will pay to have a social to bring everyone together, celebrate your hard work, and provide an opportunity for your new recruits to feel welcomed into the group.

After your follow-up meeting, consider hosting a social. You can go out to a local pizza pub, a nearby bar, or do something more creative like go to one of your school’s football games together.

People may first become interested in your YAL chapter because of the ideas of liberty, but no one will stay as a member unless your chapter proves to be a source of camaraderie and friendship for them.

Use this momentum for your next activism project!

Through conducting Choose Charity, you won’t convince everyone to join your chapter, but you’ll see your membership grow quickly. You’ll be thankful you put in the effort when you have a record-setting turnout at your next chapter meeting!

Remember, every event you do on campus should be used as a launching pad for your next big project so don’t let your momentum end with Choose Charity! Use this energy to mobilize for your next big activism project. Check out YAL’s most popular activism events here.

Contact your Regional Director with any questions you have!