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Joy Ward, Jaime Smith, and Skye Kilaen: Be the Change Locally - How to Advocate for Animal Welfare
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Joy Ward, Jaime Smith, and Skye Kilaen: Be the Change Locally - How to Advocate for Animal Welfare



Joy Ward, Jaime Smith, and Skye Kilaen's breakout session at BlogPaws 2012: Be the Change Locally - How to Advocate for Animal Welfare

Joy Ward, Jaime Smith, and Skye Kilaen's breakout session at BlogPaws 2012: Be the Change Locally - How to Advocate for Animal Welfare



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  • Staff member - that person now handles that topic for that office.Form letters are a dead giveaway that no one really cares or if they do, its low on the totem pole of issues. Every paper letter they get counts as 7-10 people.3.Other contacts, local paper are used to assess community concern.
  • In-kind volunteers: don’t give money, but donate time with skills like blogging, marketing, administrative, making flyers, etc. Gather supporters in a structured manner. Pursue this possibility: use different peoples’ skill sets for different things (this is called in-kind donating). For example, I’m a marketing/SEO consultant and copywriter by trade (with a college degree). So I write/design brochures/ads/press releases/blog posts & create marketing ideas, push volunteerism campaigns for rescues & animal welfare-related non-profits. Some of your volunteers may have accounting skills, office skills, administrative skills, phone skills (i.e., patience, etiquette and the willingness to get hung-up on a lot!); others may carry M.B.A’s and care to come in at a higher level. You never know until YOU get out and start motivating the people yourself. Perfect example of fantastic organization working well? The Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions.You never know what is possible until YOU get out and start motivating people!
  • If you are planning to make big moves in terms of avocations, start raising funds now. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Its tough economic times right now so you must be patient if the money doesn’t flow in right away. Many shelters and rescues are suffering from lack of donations right now so that’s why you need to start NOW.It doesn’t matter if you have bake sales and sell lemonade every weekend for a year… I don’t care if you eat Ramen Noodles every night for a month, JUST DO IT. Take your dog to a park with a vest on that has change pockets so people can put money in (and hand out flyers to owners). Find other organizations to partner with; try to find a corporate donor like the fine folks at PetSmart Charities, Newman Foundation, or IAMS, or a sponsor close to home like a local restaurant, doggie boutique, sports team, or other group that you know loves animals. These groups are out there, and they’re willing to at least hear your plea… It never hurts to have someone on hand that has experience with fund-raising and/or grants/grant-writing...
  • If you want to get petitions signed, if you want to poll people, if you want to stand on nearly any street corner or outside any storefront, you need permission from the city, county and whatever store/place of business you’re at. Do your research well beforehand to figure out what permits you need so you don’t get kicked out and fined!
  • After you’ve rallied the troops and are ready to start petitioning or protesting, you’ll need to do MORE research. If you’re going up against a sect of dissenters (and you undoubtedly will in the animal welfare arena as there are tons of cruel hearts that value money over kindness), it’s imperative that you find the research that they are using. Read the statistics they’re showing. Document/save the advertisements, commercials, newspaper stories, etc. being shown/published by them. Figure out who their “experts” are.Whatever you do, when in front of a City Council member, legislator, etc., do not become enraged or show ire at what has not been done; do not become a crying mess because you miss your dog, etc. Politicians DON’T respond well to negative emotion, and they will absolutely respond undesirably IF YOU CALL THEM ON THEIRS (if they get angry, frustrated, impatient.)
  • You never know who you’re talking to… so try not to offend you are protesting with or any affiliates of the group by “bashing” a certain other AWgroup in front of people you don’t know.Use research, statistics and advocacy campaigns from celebrated organizations like the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, The Animal Legal Defense Fund or American Humane Association to piggy-back on, and for reliable, current information. HSUS, and Humane Society Legislative Fund, although semi-controversial, are very helpful, particularly in terms of lobbying and the political process, as that’s their main focus. They have current websites and constant updates on state and even county/area issues. They are an invaluable resource.You can call or email to ask permission from these groups to re-print information so you can create hand-outs for your community about nearby (geographically) or closely related (conceptually) campaigns.
  • SKYE’S SLIDEYou could be using that wasted time to do something effective!Anonymous communications (emails, petitions)Contacts from outside district (you blogged and asked everyone to write)“Like” the cause on Facebook (unless you can turn those people into donors)
  • Keep going until you feel successful in your advocacy endeavor. If you need inspiration, follow the fight for Nitro’s Law to be passed in Ohio… for the THIRD TIME… …or find your own little inspiration. You must have a good reason for doing what you’re doing… … After all, animal welfare advocacy is not for the faint of heart, it’s not for the weak, we folks are not easily rattled. We are tough. We are united. Remember where and why you started -- and you’ll never want to quit…  

Joy Ward, Jaime Smith, and Skye Kilaen: Be the Change Locally - How to Advocate for Animal Welfare Joy Ward, Jaime Smith, and Skye Kilaen: Be the Change Locally - How to Advocate for Animal Welfare Presentation Transcript

  • Be The Change Locally: How to Advocate for Animal Welfare Joy Ward, Jaime Smith and Skye Kilaen “Animal Welfare Is The Most Extreme Philosophy I Can Imagine. It Is About Non-Violence. It Is About Compassion. It Is About Not Harming and Not Causing Suffering And Not Killing When We Don’t Have To. That’s It. It Is Really, Truly That Simple.-Stephanie Ernst
  • What We’re Going To Cover • What are the basic elements of a campaign? • Legislators and decision- makers: who are they and how do you influence them? • How can you use social media to make change?
  • Basic Campaign Elements• Getting/joining supporters & like-minded folks• Financing• Marketing materials• Clear message and figuring out the opposition’s message• Communicating with legislators
  • What Do Legislators Do When You Communicate With Them?• Assign a staff member to respond.• Figure out if their constituents care about the issue.• Contact “experts” for help responding. – This could be people you disagree with or are complaining about.
  • What’s Ineffective What’s Effective Communication? Communication?• Insults • Find the right Legislator.• Threats • Clear requests: “Vote NO on Ohio HB130.”• Rants • LOCAL stories.• Hyperbole • Reliable, verifiable facts and figures.• Form letters • CONCISE emails, faxes, and letters.• Long letters • SHORT visits with staff, plus• Incorrect facts handouts.• Lack of specific demands • Compliments, if possible.• No identifying information • Thank you’s, if they’re on your side!
  • Find Support & Leadership• Work with non-animal interest groups that share values where possible.• Gather supporters in a structured manner.• Use different people for different tasks, i.e. marketing, administrative tasks, etc.
  • Find Your Financing• Start raising funds now• Take your dog to a park with a vest that has change pockets for donations (and hand out flyers to people)• Find other organizations to partner with; try to find a business donor• Find someone with experience in fund-raising/grant-writing
  • GET PERMITS (if getting political)• If you want to get petitions signed… if you want to poll people… if you want to stand somewhere… You need permission from the city, county or place of business Otherwise you could be kicked out or fined!
  • Figure Out the Opposition’s Argument• Find the research that they are using and experts they’re citing.• Save the ads, document the commercials, clip the newspaper articles, etc. done by your opposition.• Politely tear said arguments to pieces with your well-prepared counter- attack that is logical, educational and NOT BASED ON EMOTION.
  • National Advocacy Groups• Don’t judge or bad-mouth them.• Don’t underestimate their power.• Use their research – it’s up-to-date & relevant.
  • Social Media Advocacy• Subscribe to legislators’ newsletters and blogs, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, etc.• If issue is local, does anyone local read your blog? If not, find local blogging groups.• Don’t WASTE time with communications legislators will discount.
  • Recap I• Legislators / Decision- makers – who are they and how can you influence them?• Basic campaign elements• How can you use social media to make change?
  • RECAP II Challenges: What We Want You to be Thinking About:• Think of one group outside your community who you could partner with…• How can you reach out to community members who havent been reached yet?• Think of one new way to use social media.• Think of an animal welfare cause you could really get behind that’s currently an issue in your community.• Find out who your legislators are – city, county & state. You can make a TON of difference locally! Locals are crucial to campaigns!
  • Don’t Give Up!