This Is How To Volunteer For Planned Parenthood

by Lily Feinn

Planned Parenthood, one of America’s most trusted and nesseccary providers of reproductive healthcare, has continually come under fire from conservative politicians and lawmakers, as well as the current president-elect of the United States. Due to the bleak turn of events in the 2016 election, you may be wondering how to volunteer for Planned Parenthood — because fighting to ensure that access to affordable reproductive healthcare, including safe, legal abortions, continues to be protected has perhaps never been more important than it is right now.

Our footing is slipping when it comes to our right to choose what to do with our own bodies. The president-elect has said that he would shut down funding to the organization, and work to overturn Roe V. Wade as well as the Affordable Care Act. In the face of this adversity, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards declared in a statement following the election results that healthcare should not be politicized. "Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years, and one thing is clear," the statement reads. "We will never back down and we will never stop fighting to ensure that Planned Parenthood patients have access to the care they need, people who come from communities that need our continued support in this new reality — immigrants, people of color, the LGBTQ community, people of faith, and more." Fighting for this organization is so, so important. I cannot stress that enough.

If you want to take action to help support Planned Parenthood there are many ways to get involved:

Donate Money

First and foremost, Planned Parenthood is a not-for-profit that relies on donations and public funding to operate its 650 health centers, and support its educational outreach and advocacy. According to their 2014 annual report, the organizaton received $528 million in government funding (none of which, it should be noted, is ever used for abortion services). The public funding makes up over 40 percent of the organization's yearly revenue, making it the single largest source of funding. Should it no longer receive government funding... well, to say that it would severely impact the organization doesn't even begin to describe it.

While we can petition our state Representatives to block any bill that may seek to defund the organization, giving a donation can also greatly help Planned Parenthood continue to function. Check out the Planned Parenthood Federation of America's website to donate today, or donate to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund to aid their political work. You can also check out the Action Fund's website to add your name to one of their open letters to conservative lawmakers.

Donate Time & Skills

But money isn't the only way to help Planned Parenthood; you can also donate your time and skills. Learn about volunteer openings in your area by visiting the Planned Parenthood Jobs and Volunteering page — links at the bottom of the page will direct you to positions of employment, as well as volunteer and internship opportunities. To set up an account, simply enter your email and create a password. The site will then direct you to fill out a volunteer profile. You will be prompted to answer questions in regards to your areas of interest, availability, and location so that the organization can match you to the right open position. By registering, you will also receive alerts sent to your inbox when new opportunities become available. They also offer a country-wide list of volunteer opportunities here — so sign up today and find out how you can serve your community.

There are all sorts of positions to suit different skill sets including marketing, administrative, and more. For those with tight schedules, many Planned Parenthood branches offer a monthly volunteer night where those who wish to give their time can spend a few hours helping with projects such as phone banking, putting together pamphlets, mailings, and creating safe sex packs.

If You're A Student...

If you're in college, you have the opportunity to become an activist through the youth-led Planned Parenthood Generation Program. Join one of the 250 campus groups across the nation, and see how you can affect change in your community through outreach, education, and advocacy for sexual health and reproductive rights. Find your local Generation Action Group here, and learn how to become a Generation Action leader by following this link.

If You Live In New York...

Those living in the New York City area have the additional opportunity to apply to join the PPNYC Action Fund Activist Council. Since 2005, members of the council go through specialized Planned Parenthood training and "work to further PPNYC’s mission, advance legislative priorities, and uphold a reproductive justice framework in their community organizing, event planning, community partnerships, and co-sponsorships." Memebers can join one of five different workgroups that aid political action, Sex Ed advocacy, fundraising, or act as health center escorts. Bustle has reached out to Planned Parenthood for comment and will update the article as we hear back.

To learn more about activist opportunities, check out the video about their important work and community outreach above. And to find your local affiliate check out the state by state directory of Planned Parenthood branches. Let's work together to keep our hard-won rights safe.

This post has been updated with additional information from Planned Parenthood.

Images: Getty, PPNYCAction/YouTube, CecileRichards/Twitter, PlannedParenthoodAction/YouTube