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What makes a mighty advocate?

Advocacy is a big word. Per the internet, it has many definitions and is many things to different people. I researched and was flung headlong into a dizzying array of comments, articles, categories and definitions! We as social enterprise company leaders have opportunities. Wouldn’t it be great to have a conversation about advocacy? Advocacy for people and planet? Good advocacy is in the eye of the beholder, the receivers, and it takes thought. How do we consider advocacy? It can be confusing when there are words like “influencer” and “affiliate” and “support. There is a lot on the internet about brand advocates, and while it’s great for businesses to thrive, I feel advocacy for community and environment, humanity, equity and justice is way beyond that. It’s about being actively passionate about making things better for community, the environment, family and more in an active role and with examination of equity. Where we don’t have the means, the power, the reach, we can find the heavy hitter advocates and support them.

Advocacy is defined as any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others. 

Alliance for Justice – Article in Resources

One of my favorite places to eat is Dick’s Primal Burger in Portland, the food is healthy and I know the values that the founder and now the owner put into sourcing. Vegan food is available, all local from people who know each other and the values they put into their work. The ranch for beef, Carman Ranch is Regenerate certified, 100% grass fed with the goal of restoration! I talk about the why so much that one of my friends said “you’re an advocate!” I hadn’t thought on that word until he said it. It just seems natural to share something good and help create connections and awareness. it caused me to think more about what it was that inspired that comment.

Advocacy in our work is not only client support and good work with them, it’s about championing them, with consent, while making connections to new ideas, opportunities. I don’t consider this paid work, I consider it a joy as part of service. I also believe advocacy needs caution and equity. Saviorism is rarely helpful, often harmful. Sometimes advocacy is helping create a space where we get out of the way for some who is rarely heard to feel safe to express ideas, needs and opportunities in their own voice, from their own lived experience. Allyship can be a form of advocacy.

Advocacy can be in community, safety, human rights, environment, governance and policy. What if all of those were always considered with equity? We can find an advocacy niche and do good work there, sometimes deep understanding and action in one or two areas is better than being spread thin over many. Where do you see advocacy and opportunity?

My company is small, there’s only so much we can do, however I’m a big believer in supporting the heavy hitters! An inspiration came about last summer when I learned our Our Children’s Trust and Held v. Montana case that was won! That organization gave voice to youth from various locations in Montana, gave voice to Tribal concerns, and focused on health, welfare, trauma and the future. By working on legal issues and shaping policy and legislations, Our Children’s Trust advocates for change in human rights, environmental stewardship and policy representation! I chose to support their advocacy, it’s so much bigger than anything I can do, they need the support. Our Children’s Trust is and advocacy organization, worthy of our support. There are many examples!

Advocacy also showed up in our lives in a big personal way. When someone is hospitalized for months, advocacy takes on new meaning, a full focus and a change of lifestyle. Many things are put aside as this becomes a force of nature and love. It doesn’t mean challenging providers necessarily, but being a researcher, asking questions, helping a loved one’s voice be heard for their own agency, spending time making the insurance calls, the outreach. It also means seeking to understand the care team. We’ve been through this more than once, and advocacy is a heart felt charge, it takes time, dedication and being there, whatever that means. Memory care is more than a location, it’s a place where advocacy is so important, in a way that is like being a member of the team. This can happen

Advocacy in life, love and business can intersect, cross over and blend. Advocacy in community takes organization and dialogue. I love Business for a Better Portland BBPDX, an organization that rallies businesses to share voice and energy on topics that are sometimes brought to legislation, to the media and to community. An example is rallying together to increase business in the downtown Portland area, every Friday morning, people come together with the goal to help local businesses, support and advocate for them and rally to bring more people into the area. Through this call, several thousand more dollars is spent in these local businesses on a weekly basis, helping them thrive. Small and local can be mighty! Large and far reaching can be impactful.

I personally think of the advocacy I do, we do as the human part of helping create change for the better. It’s championing for a cause. And it means doing something in a ways that’s not reflexive or saviorism, but is researched, meaningful, with consent when possible with deep questions and listening, activism and actions that are thoughtful and checked for outcomes. There are other ways of being in service, of being paid that are also advocacy, it takes choice and organization.

What do you think? How do you feel about advocacy, being an advocate, being advocated for? How can we advocate for issues such as climate improvements, health and welfare issues, education? Every Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) has space for advocacy. How can we weave advocacy with our impacts as businesses? Who do you admire as advocates and what are some examples? How do you feel about advocacy that is paid, and advocacy that is not paid? References are below at the end of this blog. I feel a need for deep conversation on this topic for those of us who want to find focus and strength to advocate by ourselves, and in community. What makes a Mighty Advocate? Let’s learn together.

How to connect with us

I look forward to hearing from you. Mighty Epiphyte Consulting serves businesses at the heart level. We support and coach for impacts evaluations, measuring and reporting, for you to be found for your values as well as products and services. We are also guides through a variety of certifications including B Corp. We support you! advocate@mightyepiphyte.com

(Brand advocacy, which is more of a partnership, affiliates, things of that nature are in the reference section. )

Advocate & Advocacy References

What does AI say about Advocacy?

Advocacy as a Business Impact

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2 responses to “What makes a mighty advocate?”

  1. David Terrell Avatar

    Thank you for a very insightful letter. We, for sure, need to do more advocacy. This can be done at many levels, directly and indirectly. With the tools we have now there is no excuse to not do it.

    1. Kim Allchurch Flick Avatar
      Kim Allchurch Flick

      Thank you so much for your input. I would enjoy discussing with you sometime.
      Sincerely,
      Kim
      Mighty Epiphyte Consulting

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