What is advocacy?
Advocacy is the act of promoting an idea with varying degrees of wanting to influence an outcome. As an advocate, you might support or oppose an idea. You might not want something to change, or you might be advocating for a change. You might have a great idea that no one has thought about or considered, and you might want others to know about it, too. You might advocate because you need something, you may advocate in response to something, or you may advocate to prevent something from happening to you, your community, or to someone you care about. You might also have a story to tell about something you experienced, and you want others to understand your experience, too.
All these notions about advocacy are applicable to advocating lawmakers in Congress or your state legislature just as much as these are also concepts that you employ in your everyday life as a patient, employee, relative, or member of a community. Being an advocate doesn’t mean you have to know everything about what you are advocating in order to make a difference. Advocacy is usually a very long process that takes one step at a time and often requires tenacity, patience, fortitude, cooperation, and a little bit of luck to realize your goal. Your experiences in your profession, your life, and your relationships with others are enough to compel change in small ways that can often lead to bigger things.
Below are several examples of advocacy.