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Simple Tips on Advocacy and Lobbying for a Cause

use-your-voice-advocacy

I recently had the opportunity to visit Washington DC on quite an advocacy adventure. Although in the past I have dubbed myself the “unlikely advocate”—the kind of person that could have never imagined herself actually lobbying for a cause on Capitol Hill—thanks to the help and encouragement of the amazing and generous folks at The United Nations Foundation I am slowly leaving the “unlikely” part of my being an advocate behind. But that doesn’t mean I’m a pro at it. Nor does it mean it’s necessarily easy. On the contrary; I’m fumbling and bumbling along on this new path, and although I often feel out of place, I know that the only way to make it feel more like my place is to just walk the walk.

Traveling home from my trip I got to thinking about all I’ve learned and how—now that the process has been demystified—lobbying on behalf of something I really believe in isn’t as hard as I thought. Don’t get me wrong; as I knocked on the doors of my state Senators and my local congress people on Capitol Hill, my knees were knocking too. But feeling the fear and doing it anyway (and living to tell about it) only means that now, I’ve got a new awesome skill to add to my life’s repertoire and I can use that skill anytime I need it. And when it comes to Shot@Life and the work they are doing with global vaccines and helping to stop the senseless deaths of children caused by preventable diseases, I’m going to keep needing it and using it. And, I must admit, that feels pretty good.

So, you want in on the action? Awesome! Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned about advocacy over the past year and through meeting with my representatives in DC to help you get started, if you haven’t already:


  • Start with love. 1 of 10
    Start with love.
    Most likely, you're ready to go to bat for something important to you because you've got a passion for it. That's the best way to start. Let your passion guide and inform your approach in your own advocacy journey. Following your heart is the best place to start.
  • Spread your wings. 2 of 10
    Spread your wings.
    Just like with a lot of things, you'll never feel 100% prepared, but don't let that stop you from just taking the leap. The best way to learn is by doing.
  • Surround yourself with good people. 3 of 10
    Surround yourself with good people.
    They say it takes a village and in the case of fighting for a cause there's always room for more help. Having a support system can make a big difference and help you make a positive, powerful impact.
  • Be prepared to walk. 4 of 10
    Be prepared to walk.
    When you're lobbying on Capitol Hill, you can take this literally. You've got to walk all over town to get to the different offices where you'll have your meetings. And figuratively, when you're advocating for something you believe in, it's not a race, it's a marathon. Wear comfy shoes.
  • Know what you’re up against. 5 of 10
    Know what you're up against.
    Whether it's local issues, global issues or a mixture of both, you need to know enough to make your point. Learn, study, and be prepared to educate others on your passion. Remember when it comes to your cause, you're the expert. We hoped that by leaving this little Polio germ behind, it would help remind our representatives that eradicating Polio is our priority for the coming years.
  • Don’t be intimidated. 6 of 10
    Don't be intimidated.
    Your representative(s) and/or their "staffers" are just people like you and I and it's their job to listen and hear us out. It's as simple as a conversation. Just know the whats and whys of your visit and you're good to go.
  • Just be you. 7 of 10
    Just be you.
    You don't have to change who you are for this. Share your passion, use your voice, tell your stories and let YOU shine through.
  • Use your manners. 8 of 10
    Use your manners.
    Dress appropriately, be prompt, sign the guest book, be courteous, and then, be sure to send a thank you note.
  • Be proud. 9 of 10
    Be proud.
    Being an advocate is important! You're standing up for something you believe in and that's a big deal. Feel good about what you've accomplished and give yourself a pat on the back. Yay you!
  • Do it again. 10 of 10
    Do it again.
    Once you get started you can easily keep up the momentum. Continue to spread the word, maintain your advocacy relationships, and pay another visit to your representative in the future. Never underestimate the power of polite persistence.

For a story about a true Daredevil of Advocacy, be sure to read about the amazing Sikha Petra. Talk about inspiring you to use your voice!

 

For more about Tracey and how she elevates the everyday, visit her at traceyclark.com.

For the story about how she and her teen got here, take a peek at their first post at Reframed.

Follow Tracey on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Want to have a better day? Check out 10 ways to do just that! 

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