Party with a Purpose

I’m a firm believer that if you clean your bathroom without making it a dance party, you’re doing it wrong.

Getting and staying involved is work, but combining your civic engagement with things you already wanted to do is one way to achieve sustainability.

My mentor almost exclusively partied with purpose. When she wanted to record kazoo covers, she threw an album launch party and sold the CDs for the literacy council.

Pro tip: Her cause also helped convince her homies to provide free recording and graphic design support to make the album happen.

Make your own party with a purpose: if you prefer dirt over dancing you can sign up with a community garden. If you like to run, find races that fundraise for causes you connect with. If you prefer parties for one you can use your hobbies for good.

Sometimes the opportunity to do what you love isn’t available as a pre-packaged “see you Saturday at noon” kind of volunteer shift. And that’s OK–make your engagement authentically yours.

With all due respect, no one would have ever asked Patty to create a kazoo album for their cause. Don’t be discouraged if the path isn’t obvious. Plug into communities with similar goals and you can make it happen.

Sometimes this means mixing in the less glamorous work that’s necessary to make those communities run–but we’re playing the long game here. And the reward at the finish line is an engagement opportunity you can look forward to. Getting involved shouldn’t always feel like adding another chore to your list.

Happy partying!


feature image 📸: Andrew Knechel


Give Positive Feedback

For many of us, complaining comes easy. Maybe too easy. When we feel we’ve been wronged we’re more motivated to take action, compared to instances where our expectations were met.

Sometimes I imaging that doing intake for constituent letters to representatives is something like Yelp, where half the participants are the ones who are there for catharsis or seem to have had unrealistic expectations in the first place.

At a lobbying event I attended last year I heard an aide for Congresswoman Barbara Lee speak on this topic. Lee’s legislative assistant M. A Keifer said messages from constituents who support the Congresswoman’s work are important to gauge passion on the issues. When you like what your rep is doing, you don’t want the critics to be the only voices they hear. Provide a more balanced experience for your officials by saying Thanks when they actually represent you.

It takes practice to express gratitude in other spaces, but the same benefits apply here. Take 5 minutes to Thank a rep–and read this article on writing your representatives if you’re looking to maximize your impact.

sign for polling place

Make a Voting Plan

Ohio’s primary elections are Tuesday! Take 5 minutes to make a plan for casting your ballot. Ask yourself these questions:

When are you voting?

Early voting is still an option if May 8 isn’t a good day for you.

For future reference: you can also vote from home! But the deadline to request an absentee ballot is three days before the election in which you want to vote, so I’m late to the party on this info, for this Ohio election.

If you’re voting on election day, Ohio polls are open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Where are you voting?

This depends on whether you’re voting early or on election day.

How are you getting there?

Your polling place is probably in biking distance if not walking. Get some movement in and make the errand extra enjoyable.

Is everyone on the same page?

Could you and your roommate will go together? Accountability buddies aren’t just work workouts. Is childcare arranged? You can take your kids to the polling places, so maybe someone just needs as heads up that they’ll be late. Check your office calendar to be sure you have plenty of time to get back to work in case of a line.

How will you vote?

The copy on the ballot is often not enough context to make an informed decision. Check out a sample ballot and do some research so you don’t show up and play eenie-meenie-miney-mo.


All of the info you need to make your game plan for the Ohio Primaries is at

If you’re not in Ohio, a google search will get you there. The Secretary of State’s website should also be your starting place.


Happy voting!