6 Ways to Be a More Effective Advocate

If you’re like us, you’re a little worried about the future right now. You want to stand up for women and low-paid workers. You want to make sure we don’t lose ground on the hard-won gains of the last four decades.

Here are six ways you can raise your voice effectively for change. Because together, we are stronger.

1. Call your elected officials. Yes, on the telephone.

via Giphy

We’re all used to sending emails. But the truth is, a phone call carries a lot more weight. While your email will get counted and filed, when you call, somebody in your elected official’s office has to listen to you — your voice, your concerns, your good wishes, your humanity.

And when a lot of people call? Well, that’s a lot of time your elected officials and their staffers have to spend listening. It’s enough to change hearts and minds. It’s enough to get things done.

Want tips on how to make your calls effective? Check out this guide written by a former congressional staffer, and if calling gives you anxiety, here’s a “shy person’s step-by-step guide” for calling your elected officials.

Need to find your officials? Here’s a great tool for looking up federal officials and their phone numbers, and here’s one for state officials. For local officials, check your municipal website.

p.s. Do you have a great congressperson who always does the right thing? Take time to call him or her too! Share your concerns. Tell her what she’s getting right. Thank him and ask him to keep fighting the good fight. Even the ones you agree with need to hear from you!

2. Get local.

We talk a lot about national politics, but some of the biggest changes happen at the state and local levels. Cities and states across the country have raised minimum wages, passed earned sick time bills, enacted paid family and medical leave, secured pregnancy discrimination protections, and implemented fair pay measures while federal action on those issues has stalled. And those state and local changes have improved the lives of MILLIONS.

Bonus: Because your state and local officials have fewer constituents, each voice they hear from carries that much more weight.

3. Make noise on social media.

via Giphy

You know this one. Social media amplifies your voice and gets your message in front of a larger audience. It’s a powerful tool. Use it for good.

If you care about an issue, post about it on your social networks. Share posts from your favorite organizations. (*ahem* Women Employed is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, AND YouTube.) Find and share articles from quality sources (watch out for and avoid fake news). Tell people why it matters to you.

Even better? Tweet at your elected officials, or post on their Facebook pages. (Live in Illinois? Here is a list of state legislators on Twitter.) Social media is a big megaphone and a way to make your communication with an elected official public. Use it.

4. Make noise in real life too!

While online activism is vital for building a movement, there is no replacement for boots on the ground.

There will be some great opportunities in the upcoming weeks and months to turn up and make your voice heard. The Women’s March on Washington on January 21st and its sister marches in cities across the country —including Chicago—showed just how powerful it is when advocates speak out and fight for change.

And there will be plenty more chances to march, rally, and make noise about the issues that matter to you. Watch for them and join with other advocates when you can!

5. Get your friends involved.

There is strength in numbers. So get your friends to join the fight. There are many ways for them to be allies, whether it’s taking action on an issue, joining you at a rally, volunteering their time for a worthy cause, donating to an organization doing good work, or even just talking to their friends about the issues. Get them involved to help build the movement!

Have a book club, church group, or other crowd that you want to mobilize? We can help! Just email mdevine@womenemployed.org or call 312–782–3902 x224.

6. Visit womenemployed.org/act

We have a ton of actions you can take right now, and every one of them will make a difference. Visit now. Visit often.