Celebrating Your Victories - Finding Something to Celebrate
Advocacy is hard work. Celebrating your successes is not
optional - it is just as important as evaluation of your
efforts. Even if it seems that there is nothing to celebrate -
find something, things could always be worse.
Nothing is really work unless you'd rather be doing something else.
-- Peter Pan
As we were planning an anniversary party during a year when
consumers' access to health care had been decimated - an advocate asked
why we would plan a party when we lost. I responded that this is exactly
when you need a party. Winning is its own reward, but keeping up sprits
when you lose is a challenge.
- Celebration doesn't have to be expensive, but you should not
scrimp either. Make morale boosting a part of your advocacy
planning, and part of your organization's advocacy budget.
- Figure out who needs the celebration and focus on their needs.
Don't wine and dine the Board of Directors if it's the line staff
that are feeling the stress. Think about who needs to be thanked and
focus on them.
- Don't make celebrating a burden. If going to yet another social
event is not fun for your advocates, respect that. Be creative. If
you're not sure what they would like - ask them. Some ideas:
- get them a small gift -- I am a personal fan of boxes of
- a personalized letter of thanks
- a plaque
- a picture-taking session with a VIP
- good press - a thank you letter to the editor
- gift certificates
- surprise "early dismissal" on a beautiful sunny
- an office "field trip" to the movies or miniature
- bringing in lunch from a new restaurant
- Make the event special, but appropriate, for your celebrants.
If your advocates would be more comfortable and relaxed at a picnic,
do that rather than a black tie event.
- Don't try to make the celebration serve other functions, e.g.
awards to VIPs, fundraising, a media event, etc. If you set up too
many goals for one event, you won't accomplish any of them and your
advocates won't feel special.
- Thank the people who help create the celebration - this is
For more great ideas, go to Community
Toolbox: Arranging Celebrations
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