Advocacy in a Time of Anger
Posted Thursday, September 8th, 2016 by Sterling Volunteers Staff
In donation and transplantation, we’re out in the community with a very specific goal: to save and heal more lives by helping folks say YES.
Right now, there are many people who are out in the community for other purposes. For some, they are driven by hate.
This is what I’m thinking about right now: how can advocates for donation and transplantation, and #DonateLife, walk out into the world and be a part of the anti-narrative to a time filled with mistrust and hatred? How can we, as community-based volunteers and organizations, be unifiers, not dividers?
Can we embody the values of our mission—to save and heal lives, to comfort folks who are suffering, to honor altruism—at a time when so much seems lost or muddled or angry or indifferent?
What I can tell you is this: if you can walk out into an event this weekend, and show folks who may not expect kindness, kindness, show folks who may not expect compassion, compassion, and if you can listen just a little more than you talk, you’ll make a difference.
“You’re right, this is a crazy time. What I can tell you is, a simple act of kindness [insert your organization’s call to action here!]—is one more way we can show others that we care, even in tough times.
Try: “Good folks can disagree on politics. Many folks find they can agree about values. For me, I know that [your organization’s mission] represents my values, like compassion, and helping people in need. We get to vote for a candidate, and we might all disagree—but we can agree on [your mission or the high-level impact of your call to action]. ”
Try: “I don’t agree with everyone about everything, and that’s okay. What I can tell you is, [XXX] folks in [your state, county, etc.] do agree about this: [part of your work or mission that people really love].”
Try: “If you listen to the media, you would think Americans aren’t at all on the same page. But what I know from volunteering with these great folks is that people agree [part of your work or mission that people really love]. That tells me that our country still holds important values. That Americans are, fundamentally, caring and good. It gives me hope.”
Do you have more ideas for how to engage people in conversations, at a time when conversations in America seem a little more fraught? Do you have an experience you can share? Are these communication tips helpful for your volunteers? I’d love to hear what works for you!
Check out another guest post from Brianna:
As CEO of Positive Rhetoric LLC, I work for the wonderful folks across the country who save lives through donation and transplantation. Additionally, I provide speech writing services and presentation skills training for leadership and volunteers working in public education and advocacy programs, and proudly serve on the board of DOVIA Colorado. In my spare time, I find joy in loving my family, loving my friends, and drinking a good cup of coffee.