Reaction Tuesday!! “It’s Not What Happened, It’s What Happens Next”

Okay!  I definitely fell off of the face of the earth… well maybe just the face of Social Media.  Got caught in a rut, and I need to break out of it.  So, I am going to start a new PERSONAL initiative.

REACTION TUESDAYS!!

I am going to keep my eye out on articles that excite, aggravate, agree with, ruffle feathers, or are flat out interesting and give my reaction to them.  I think it’ll be a good thing.  Directions to help read – I will pick points from the article (in bold) and include my reaction (in italics).  Then, I will include a summary call to action paragraph on what we can ALL do to react on Tuesdays!! So here is the first go at it…….

“It’s Not What Happened, It’s What Happens Next”

An article written by Marc Wetherhorn, Director of Advocacy at NACHC.  “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.–Winston Churchill I am not at all happy with the $600 million cut in Health Center funding that the Congress and President..” (Click here to read the entire article)

I agree 100% with everything Marc says in this article. (How is that for a first Reaction article?)  But all of his points I agree with…

  • “I am not happy with the $600 million cuts”We can’t be happy with that at all.  Sure we are fortunate that health care hopefully won’t be denied to the people who already receive it from health centers throughout the nation, but what about the PLENTY of other US citizens who need preventative primary care??

  • “..it would indeed have been worse.”We came together as a grassroots advocacy team.  I never knew how many people could all be locked into ONE passion, and the NACHC team did a great job of keeping the message uniform throughout.  We could all have given GREAT and passionate stories and arguments, but all of us resounding the same thing over and over is definitely the most effective!

  • “Elections matter. Voting matters. Empowering our communities matters and we need to be doing that as well.”This is our next step.  VOTING.  Get everyone to vote.

Voting matters

This is the next step for all FQHC advocates for sure.  We need sign up EVERYONE in our immediate communities to vote.  We need to sign up EVERYONE to be health center advocates.  We brought A LOT of people together in the past two months to advocate during the budget debate.  Now, we have to increase our numbers so that when the time comes again, we will be able to scream LOUDER!!

#1 Rule to making Advocacy easier

Speak with those for whom you are advocating!

 

Often times, we get caught up in the nuts & bolts of advocating.  Things like – “let’s get this research done, these statistics will be a good tool!”“what is the best angle to speak with this legislator?” “if we come up with these new printed materials we can spread the word quickly!”

These steps of advocacy ARE critical, but you can go down the ENTIRELY WRONG direction without speaking with those for whom you are advocating! (And this doesn’t always mean the patients or clients)  Speaking with staff who interact with these patients and clients can be very, VERY helpful.

EXAMPLE: In brainstorming ideas for raising awareness for a local homeless program, the idea of “street” teams to spread the word and collect donations came up.  Within our small brainstorming group, we thought that this would be a good idea!  The presence of people on the street could get people talking and wanting to learn more.  However, when speaking to staff about the idea, a GREAT point came up about shaking cups and how asking for donations on the street for a homeless program would look.

Staff, who work with these clients on a day-to-day basis KNOW what would be accepted by the community and what will not.  Brainstorm ideas, but make sure to include those for whom you are advocating.  Keeping them up to speed will not only help you create a better event/campaign, but it will also get staff on board to HELP as opposed to a small marketing team doing all of the footwork.

Stats are good, but personal stories cut right to the chase!

When talking with legislators, people in the community, and leaders, statistics are VERY, VERY important.  However, as an advocate if you have continually spoken with those for whom you are advocating then you have a whole new level of ammunition.  Not only will those personal stories keep your fire lit to keep advocating, but you can also add a bridge from stats to the PERSONAL and remind legislators that these people are their constituents and remind people in the community that our clients are their neighbors.

Do you have an example of when speaking with those for whom you are advocating rekindled your advocacy flame? Or an example of not consulting staff before an event, and it ended up being a flop?  Share your stories below.