This kit will give you the tools you need to advocate on your own behalf, or on behalf of a friend, relative or child, to achieve the result you need, in a step-by-step fashion.
Following the instructions from the first step through the last will help you achieve your advocacy goals. Along with instructions for pursuing your advocacy goals, you will find worksheets and sample documents to help you organize your thoughts and speak effectively to your audience.
What is Advocacy?
- Advocacy is telling your story to someone in a decision-making capacity, your "audience", through various means, with the purpose of compelling them to do (or not do) something.
- Advocacy is a process that normally takes time to achieve results – don't give up!
- Advocacy has many forms, and is personal to your own style and comfort level.
- Advocacy is empowering – exerting some form of control and initiating action around issues that matter to you.
- Advocacy is action, bringing about tangible change. Raising awareness and educating people about your issues can be part of the advocacy process, but is not advocacy.
- Advocacy is NOT radical. Advocacy is reasonable, grounded in sound, rational thought. For example, protesters who chain themselves to a tree to prevent it from being cut down are engaging in activism, NOT advocacy.
Why is Advocacy Important?
- YOU, as a voter and a taxpayer have the power to affect change. There is nobody better positioned to speak out on issues that affect you, than YOU.
- Decision-makers react to credible groups or individuals who most effectively bring their issues to the forefront.
- Most governments, organizations, doctors, teachers, employers and other officials have multiple interests and concerns that must be addressed, as well as their own policy priorities and financial challenges; those who can best engage in the advocacy process will have their voices heard.
- Speaking out about the change you want to government, your doctor, teacher, your employer – anyone in a decision-making capacity – will help them understand your position and enact the change you need.
- Those who do not engage have no say in decisions that fundamentally impact their lives.
Remember, YOU play the most important role in self-advocacy.