What is Advocacy and Why Does it Matter?
If you have spent much time studying history, you might have noticed a theme regarding change. Positive (and negative) changes always occur when a leader speaks up. In a world noisy with opinions and voices, it is important to become an advocate for the right things. Exactly what is advocacy, and why does it matter?
You have probably heard the term “advocacy” used in several different contexts. Put simply, an advocate is someone who speaks on behalf of someone (or something) else. For example, animal rights activists advocate for abused animals. Lawyers act as advocates for their clients. Children might advocate for a friend who is being bullied. To be an advocate, you simply have to believe in something and then demonstrate that belief in both word and deed.
“Advocacy” is a broad term. One individual can create a career out of advocacy, while another might simply speak up for a hurting friend. Regardless of its context, advocacy plays an important role in the growth and development of the world. More importantly, it starts with individuals. That means us, and it means you!
Why is Advocacy Important?
Have you ever experienced a violation of your rights, or even an unfair situation, but you felt like you couldn’t say anything because not enough people were on your side? This is a common problem among minorities, victims, employees, and more. Often, those in authority abuse their power because no one is bold enough to call them out on it.
The truth is, many people are scared to speak up on their own behalf because they are concerned no one will back them up. This is a common theme in both extreme legal cases and in simple daily scenarios. In a nutshell, this “fear of speaking up” is why advocacy matters.
No matter what the issue is, the best way to solve problems is together. If you advocate for someone else, someone else will step up and advocate for you. A group of people using their voices for the same thing can change the world.
- Raised awareness of little-known issues
- Defense of the defenseless
- Development of personal beliefs and morals
How Can You Be an Advocate?
You don’t have to go to college to become an advocate. You simply have to stand for what is right. The following items are ways you can advocate for both yourself and others.
- Know your rights and the rights of others.
- Raise awareness regarding issues, both big and small.
- Use your voice for good.
- Recruit others to use their voices as well.
- Never back down on a topic you strongly believe in.
- Never stop learning and furthering your education.
- Plan simple ways to make change.
- Research controversial topics.
If you aren’t sure of your position on current issues, take the time to research information on both sides. This will help you formulate arguments so that you can reach a conclusion and effectively support it.
- Write down your thoughts and opinions.
You won’t remember everything you research. It is important to record your findings so that you can refer back to them later.
- Condense your arguments into concise statements.
Once you have reached a conclusion, work on developing concise statements that reflect your position. People enjoy listening to advocates who speak clearly.
- Utilize media.
Don’t be afraid to write, post, and project your thoughts. Modern technology provides an amazing opportunity to make your voice heard through social media. Do not neglect that privilege.
- Put actions to your words.
Most importantly, your actions should complement your words. If you advocate for something in word but not deed (such as recycling), you will not be viewed as a credible source.
Remember that advocacy comes in various packages, including self-advocacy, group advocacy, citizen advocacy, and professional advocacy. Advocate for what you feel is important, but remember many issues are merely a matter of opinion.
What is the Mission of RAF?
At RAF, our mission is to advocate for the rights of independent contractors in the mold, fire, and water damage industry. We believe that the voices of small business owners should be heard and that their rights should be protected. Members of RAF work together to stay updated on industry news, help independent contractors further their education, and provide valuable connections for those in the industry.
Do You Want to Become an Independent Contractor?
Whether you are already an independent contractor dealing with restoration or you would like to become one, RAF can help. If you are interested in becoming a member of RAF or have any further questions, call us today.