How can advocates avoid resistance burnout? - Generocity Philly

Method

Apr. 16, 2018 12:50 pm

How can advocates avoid resistance burnout?

The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance hosted a panel of local cause champions to chat about advocacy fatigue and best practices.

"The Rising Tide: a Multi-issue Advocacy Town Hall."

(Photo by Ebonee Johnson)

The onslaught of causes to champion for or against — the injustices faced by various groups on a regular basis — can seem never-ending.

But how are the folks on the frontlines handling those battles?

Recent discussion event “The Rising Tide: A Multi-issue Advocacy Town Hall,” hosted by arts coalition Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance (GPCA) and moderated by the org’s VP of advocacy and strategic partnerships, Anne Marie Rhoades, convened a panel of intersectional advocates to discuss advocacy fatigue and best practices for avoiding it.

First, what’s the difference between an activist and an advocate?

Rebecca Kirzner, the campaigns director for community engagement at refugee aid nonprofit HIAS, believes advocacy is about convincing someone to believe in a cause, while activism involves defending or standing up for one.

“An activist is always on it,” said program manager at the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Michelle Currica, who identifies as an advocate. “I always feel like I’m catching up, like I’m learning new things.”

How can advocates avoid “resistance burnout?”

“Sometimes saying no and going to sleep instead,” said STAMP (Students at Museums in Philly) Teen Council member Amelia Dogan. The high school junior balances homework and intramural school activities with her own social engagement. On average, she said, she’s on the go about 12 hours a day.

Rhona Gerber, anti-gun violence group CeaseFirePA’s development director, said she “goes off the grid for 24 hours.” The long-time advocate of civic engagement said allotting hours for only spending time her with her family helps to remind her why she does the work that she does.

Ways to work smarter, not harder?

“Figure out what’s most important to the people you’re lobbying,” said deputy chief of staff to Mayor Jim Kenney, Steve Preston. The former organizer for clean energy group NextGen spoke of deploying “disruption teams” to the speaking events and rallies of Republican politician Scott Brown in years past. “Look at where it can hurt,” said Preston.

From our Partners

Similarly, CeaseFirePA’s Gerber asserts that one’s mission must be “targeted and focused.” When considering the wide array of policymakers, “go for the person you think you can actually move,” said Gerber.

Bonus points: Keep your advocacy representative.

“The work will only get better if, when you realize whose missing from the table, you do the work to move beyond tokenism,” Currica said.

“Something I can do as a white woman is making sure I don’t speak for anyone else, and giving others the platform who don’t have the same resources,” Kirzner said.

Morgan Hugo, an independent living specialist with Liberty Resources, raised her hand to add a comment: “Make sure you’re keeping people with disabilities in the conversation. Make sure these spaces are available to everyone.”

-30-
LEAVE A COMMENT

From our Partners

5 smart lessons about investing to end poverty in Philadelphia

A quick guide to creating social impact with your personal finances

Vote now: NRG announced the latest 3 nonprofits up for $50,000

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

Nonprofits and startups can win up to $360K at the WeWork Creator Awards

1315 Walnut Street, Suite 1300, Philadelphia, PA 19128

Bread & Roses Community Fund

Project Manager

Apply Now
415 E. Athens Ave., Ardmore, PA

St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Ardmore, PA

Part-Time Controller

Apply Now
Philadelphia

Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia

Manager, Membership Growth and Stewardship

Apply Now

‘Each of us cannot tackle poverty alone’

Peep Hopeworks ‘N Camden youth’s heat maps of the country’s biggest donors

The story behind the Philly United Way’s 37 layoffs

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

12 Philly immigrants who are ready to mobilize

Bryn Mawr

ElderNet of Lower Merion and Narberth

Executive Director

Apply Now
Radnor, PA (Philadelphia suburbs)

The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration

Development Manager

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Episcopal Community Services of the Diocese of PA

Financial Specialist

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity