Celebrate your Success & Show your Appreciation
Katie Comando, Project Manager at HRHCare in Tarrytown, NY
The Advocacy Leadership Program (ALP) is a six-month intensive skills-building course for health center and primary care association staff and board members. This post features some of the incredible advocacy being done by a recent ALP graduate. Learn more about the ALP here. Interested in joining the next class? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Big, hairy, advocacy goals, take time, passion, and energy to accomplish. There’s a sigh of relief when you finally get that one Congress(wo)man to sign your letter, give a public statement, or make a social media post of support. When you have a successful visit to your health center by an elected official, and you see the tail lights of their car pulling out of the driveway, your facial muscles instantly relax.
But not so fast! There are thank you notes, follow-up documents… diving head first into the next big, hairy, advocacy goal!
Our work is important, imperative, and impactful, and because that’s the case, we often feel like we can’t let up, not even for a moment. But I believe that attitude does a disservice to our ultimate advocacy goals. To motivate people to join our fight and carry our torch, we need them to see what they are fighting for, and feel the thrill and the joy of accomplishment.
Working on advocacy with NACHC has provided stellar examples of support, encouragement, and thankfulness. I’ve learned from their example, and worked to implement personal displays of gratitude toward each of our advocates.
I started a HRHCare Staff & Volunteer Appreciation Day during National Health Center Week 2016 where we sent gifts and hosted breakfast at each of our sites. Health center staff were especially appreciative, and happy to be recognized. Many of the staff still use the tote bags we gave them, which promotes our branding efforts.
I filmed and edited a short message from our President & CEO, Anne Kauffman Nolon, MPH, to send out to all staff on staff appreciation day.
I try to respond to every advocate who emails email@example.com to let them know that their advocacy is appreciated. Even if it’s a brief and general form message, I think it’s nice for people to get a response when they share their efforts.
Just recently, we had our Founding Mother Reverend Jeannette J. Phillips send a simultaneous page to all 1200 staff on their desk phones to thank them for their advocacy, and urge them on to the next action! I try not to forget to thank our advocates for the last action they took, before asking them to participate again. Advocacy fatigue is real!
Most likely (in our lifetimes) there won’t be a day when we wake to find that all our advocacy wishes have come true, and all the work is done. If we treat every day as a race to the finish line, it won’t be a pretty ending. If we celebrate our achievements, even the small ones, and continue to show appreciation for one another each day, we will have meaningful and satisfying success.
To learn more, visit: www.hrhcare.org/advocacy