How to Advocate
There are many different ways to advocate. Some people are good on the telephone, while others deal better with difficult situations face to face. Some people are more comfortable writing letters. Among an advocate’s best tools are information and having a plan. Through planning, you are more likely to succeed in putting your point across.
Your best tool as a person with lupus is to educate yourself about your disease and be able to educate the people around you. Go to www.lupuscanada.ca to learn more about lupus, lupus research and about Lupus Canada. Often, your first and best resources will be your doctor. You may want to ask your doctor for a special appointment to discuss your condition in further detail.
When advocating, the more you know, the more intelligently you can advocate. This is your best tool for dealing with government, private organizations, services or agencies.
It is not always easy to deal with government, private organizations, services or agencies. To help with your own advocacy, it is good to come up with an advocacy plan. Below are steps to help with your own advocacy plan. Remember: keep details of everything you do and every conversation you have. These notes will come in handy.
- Define the problem, simply and specifically.
- Often, the problems or challenges that individuals are advocating to change are complex and multifaceted. By clarifying the problem, you make your argument easier and more time can be used to discuss solutions rather than explaining the problem.
- List possible solutions.
- It is easiest to advocate for yourself when you are armed with potential solutions. Collaborating and working together with governments and organizations can produce solutions, but this takes time. Often those advocating need changes made quickly. Coming to the table with possible solutions indicates that you are ready to work now.
- Collect information for each option.
- Remember, the more you know, the better you can advocate. By having all the information ready at your arsenal, you can challenge institutions that may not want to help. Often, government may not see your problem as their problem. By having information at hand, it is easier to persuade people to your cause.
- Consider the options and decide.
- After listing all your solutions and gathering the relevant information, you may find that one of your solutions is not feasible. This is okay. By having several possible solutions, you can pick the best ones that will help you achieve your goal.
- Consider further action.
- At this point, you may find some obstacles to your problem. Maybe you need some help from Lupus Canada? Maybe you need to partner with another organization? Remember, there is always help for your advocacy needs.This is the time to find out who to take your problem too. Governments are becoming much more accountable and transparent. If you don’t know where to go, checking out a government website. Often, they will have a directory where you can find a chain of command within the government. Unfortunately for private corporations and services you may have to call a generic number and be bounced around before you find the appropriate authority for your problem.
Other questions you should answer include:
- What should I say to ensure that I my problem is simple and specific and capture all the relevant information?
- What is my best argument?
- Should you request a meeting with the relevant authority?
- Should you write a letter to an organization?
- Should I involve a political figure to move this forward?
- Can Lupus Canada help?
- Take Action!
- You’ve considered the steps you need to take, now go forth and make it so. It can be daunting to get to this point and go forward. Hit send on that email. Make that call. You are ready to advocate!