Advocacy leads to action. It is the first step in a long and arduous process. A process of change that looks something like this:
You are confronted with an injustice. It shakes you at your core. Your life will never be the same again. You will never be able to unlearn your experience. Change! You must correct the wrong. Seek out others, who believe as you do or (on the rare side) begin your own movement. You begin to advocate. Speak up. Protest. Sign petitions. March. Write elected leaders. Attend meetings. Maybe make videos, fliers or social media posts. Here you are an advocate.
My hope is you won't stop here. We in the nonprofit sector need you to fight for what you believe in. We need volunteers, board members and donors. We need a choir committed to the cause. We need more than advocates in sheep's clothing. We need more than drive by compassion. We need people who are willing to plant a flag and sing, "This is where we fight."
At its core, advocacy is about adding a voice, but words don't move mountains. Only action can do that. It isn't enough to speak of things needing to be done. If we want a more just world, we must go about the business of doing. We must roll up our sleeves. We must get our hands dirty. We must learn the issue, truly advocate, volunteer and donate.
While we are on the topic, donations can be advocacy too. Submitting to this wisdom of those in the field is not submission, it is a gift. It is a display of tremendous insight. It allows nonprofits to do valuable work and you are allowed to amplify your voice as you join with other like minded individuals.
Finally, and this may be the most important, check your ego at the door. Social issues are complex by their very nature. They are challenging and take time, a great deal of effort and often a change of culture. Nothing in this world is more difficult than shifting culture. So, check your messiah complex at the door. More than likely, you aren't the next Gandhi, Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela. You are one person, but you are powerful, because you chose to give a damn. Just remember it is not about you. There is an injustice that's much more important.
Thanks for entering my world,