How fans are using their favorite stories to change the world 🦸🏽♀️🦸🏻
You can leverage your own passion as a fan of books, movies, TV, and games to support various charitable causes. Here's how.
If the state of pop culture has told us anything over the past decade, it’s that fans are no longer just content to sit on a couch or in a movie theater with popcorn, ready to passively consume. Passionate fans of the world’s most popular franchises want meaningful, exciting experiences and opportunities to make their mark. 🍿 From jamming out to a wizard rock concert 🎸⚡ at the local library or shelling out thousands of dollars to stay at Disney’s immersive Star Wars hotel 🌌🔫, you can live like your fictional heroes at virtually any price point.
Over the past several decades, many thousands of fans have taken fictional heroism to the next level by becoming fan activists. Professor Henry Jenkins, the renowned academic expert on fandom, defines fan activism as “forms of civic engagement and political participation that emerge from within fan culture itself, often in response to the shared interests of fans, often conducted through the infrastructure of existing fan practices and relationships, and often framed through metaphors drawn from popular and participatory culture.” In short, fans are imagining a better world and solving real-life problems through the lens of their favorite stories.
A few notable examples of fan activism include:
Trek the Vote 🖖: a non-partisan Star Trek fan organization working to ensure fair elections and voting rights in the U.S.
Fandom Forward 📕 (formerly known as The Harry Potter Alliance): a fan activist nonprofit that turns fans into heroes across various causes (Full disclosure: I am Co-President of Fandom Forward’s Board of Directors.)
Pop Culture Hero Coalition 🦸: a nonprofit that uses TV, film, and comics to bring mental health tools to school kids.
The Great Animal Rescue 🐏: Since the end of May, our own Remarkist Charity Committee has been hosting an ongoing virtual scavenger hunt inspired by the TV show Gilmore Girls to benefit Ukrainian zoos. The hunt leverages our unique in-app collectibles and puzzle features for an engaging, games-powered charity campaign that is not only helping these defenseless victims of war but also fueling upcoming campaigns.
Fans have organized for good causes over the past several decades, with grassroots Star Trek fan campaigns starting as early as 1966. Still, there are millions (if not billions) of avid pop culture fans around the world—meaning we’ve only just begun to tap into what’s possible.
If you’re someone who likes to make a difference—or wants to learn how—these are just a few ways you can become a fan activist:
1. For every fandom event you attend, consider adding on a day of service or volunteer component. 🌎
Planning on attending a movie premiere or hosting a theme party for your favorite fandom soon? Consider making a day of it and tacking on some service component, like volunteering at a local food pantry or library. Better yet, get your friends in on the action; a day of doing good in your community will make a night of pizza and movies that much more special and rewarding.
2. Join an existing fan activist organization and learn organizing tactics inspired by your favorite stories. 📚
In addition to the organizations listed earlier in this post, there’s an entire fan activist coalition of organizers around the world, as well as numerous other nonprofits hosting events and training for aspiring fan activists. If you don’t know where to start, check out these organizations for inspiration. Some of your favorite fandoms may have campaigns coming up!
3. Gather your fellow fans for a brainstorming session to create a campaign.💡
If your favorite franchises are a little obscure or there isn’t much existing guidance on engaging in fan activism around them, you could always start your own campaign. The best place to start is simply by convening a group of fellow fans to brainstorm. Get together and ask yourselves the following questions:
What stories/franchises inspire us most?
What are the key values that drive our favorite characters in those stories?
Do the challenges our favorite characters face in the story parallel any real-life social issues?
If our favorite characters were real people, how would they react to those issues?
What are some simple, actionable goals we could take to help solve or bring attention to those issues?
Are there organizations we could partner with?
4. If there’s an organization well known for its dedication to the cause you’ve chosen, consider reaching out. ❤️
If you’d like to start your own fan activist project, you could start your own nonprofit, but that’s a significant commitment (and generally something you’d want to do with a tax professional’s guidance).
Assuming there are existing organizations dedicated to your chosen cause, you can keep things simple by reaching out to one of those organizations, introducing yourself, and letting the team know you’d like to help. Your mileage may vary, but many nonprofit organizations would be thrilled to have the extra attention or support of a creative fan activist campaign. They might even be interested in co-hosting an event with you or advertising your campaign.
If you plan to fundraise, it’s generally advisable to direct funds to an existing reputable nonprofit organization. Fundraising without a nonprofit’s guidance or affiliation may lead to tax issues. (Disclaimer: We are not legal or tax experts, so please consult an attorney or tax professional if you pursue a fundraising option.)
Alternatively, an easy option for fundraising is to choose a reputable nonprofit and host a fundraiser on Facebook.
5. If you’re looking for a community hub where you can do fan activism virtually, consider joining Remarkist. 🛋️
Our growing fandom app and ecosystem is home to more than just watch parties, game nights, and chats with TV and movie stars. Anyone who signs up for Remarkist can use our games-powered fandom tools to draw awareness to their favorite charities. Or you can get hands-on with our Charity Committee, joining passionate fans around the world to create charitable campaigns together. So come along now! We have a lot of fabulous work to do.
Not a Remarkist member yet? Here’s how to get started:
Step 1: Join our beta as an early adopter and grab your unique @membername. Install our app using the instructions here, and be one of the earliest to collect our KRNL token while earning rates are high. KRNLs fuel Remarkist’s fandom economy of events and collectibles.
Step 2: Join our Remarkist Clubhouse Club—Clubhouse is a separate mobile app on iPhone and Android that we use right now to meet and watch content together. You’ll need it to actually join us for our real-time events, and you’ll need to be a member of our club there to see those chat rooms.
Step 3: Join our Discord Server—this is where hundreds of Remarkists are geeking out over the shows we love 24 hours a day, and it’s where you can get the latest developments on the project.
Step 4: Check our website at remarkist.com for a splashy birds-eye view of the biggest stuff happening in our ecosystem.
Step 5: Subscribe to future newsletters so you can stay up to date on all the exciting stuff coming to Remarkist in 2022!