Advocacy is voting intensified. It’s freedom of speech. If you're in a group, it is freedom of assembly and association. It’s how we tell the government to spend money and shape policy in order to better reflect our values.
And I love it.
The fact that Chicago’s history tells the story of important social movements only fuels my passion. From Jane Adams’ fight for women’s suffrage to the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s work for peace and justice and many others in between, there is a rich history of advocacy in my city. Oh, and if you get into strategizing about the “how to” of an advocacy campaign – my geek takes over again. What will be the most effective message? Who will be the best spokesperson? How should a nonprofit get the attention of government officials to advocate for a policy change?
Advocacy options are never ending:
- Writing letters is a great tactic for domestic issues, but if you want to impact change in another country, you might want to look into divestment and boycotts.
- Protests can generate a lot of media attention – as can peaceful rallies and public meetings – but only if you are sure enough people will show up.
- Individual meetings with leaders can be very effective – especially if your policy issue is more local.
- Social Media. Leafleting. Letters to the Editor. Coalitions. Volunteers. Fundraisers. Direct Mail. Phone banking. Celebrities. Concerts. Opposition Research.
The list of tactics could go on and on – almost as long as I could wax poetic about advocacy. And all of this “geeky passion” made it very difficult to figure out where to start writing a blog about advocacy – then it hit me. It’s passion. Strategic planning is important but its passion that attracts volunteers. Passion helps create effective messages. Passion gives your team the drive to keep going after you stumble.
Passion is the key to effective advocacy.