When Is an Advocate Not an Advocate?

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Twice in the past week, I heard from people whose APHA memberships expired, explaining why they didn’t renew. In both cases excuses in the form of complaints about their memberships were made. A little bit of research turned up the facts that those complaints were at least misguided. I responded to each of them about their frustrations. In both cases, they felt insulted.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I receive criticism and suggestions on a regular basis, sometimes including good, usable, feedback. I’m always appreciative of constructive feedback and ideas even if it’s in the form of criticism. That’s how we improve the benefits APHA offers.

Further, I recognize there are many reasons someone might not want to renew a membership. Sometimes health challenges have gotten in the way. Sometimes someone just decides independent advocacy wasn’t a good fit for them. Most of the time I hear nothing at all.

But that’s not what these exchanges were. In both cases they were making excuses by using APHA membership as the whipping post. Not kosher.

Where have they been for the past year?  Why did they wait until their memberships expired to complain? I wonder how they think they can be good advocates for other people if they don’t even advocate for themselves?

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B*tching and Moaning – Therapeutic and Educational

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It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s always an eyeopener and usually quite unsettling.

When done well, and handled well, it can turn out to be therapeutic, and has the potential for great opportunity.

I’m talking about moaning, groaning, complaining and yes – b*tching. Whether it’s a client complaining about an advocate, or the other way around, sometimes it’s fair and understandable, sometimes not. Sometimes it can escalate. Other times it can be diffused.

In all cases we can learn from complaints. So let’s take a look.

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The Rest of the Story X 4

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Channeling Paul Harvey today….

(Don’t know who Paul Harvey is?  Maybe you’re too young, or you never spent much time listening to Talk Radio… Paul Harvey was famous for his radio broadcasts called “The Rest of the Story.” His stories always featured a twist or turn, or something unexpected.)

Over the past few months, I’ve blogged about points, lessons, or stories, some of which have interesting follow-up or twists to them. So I’ve put them into one post for you – and thus we’re channeling Paul Harvey.

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Polishing Our Advocacy Rocks

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I’ve just returned from Newark where we held the second of our 2018 APHA Summits Networking Events. About 30 advocates attended, with backgrounds ranging from leaders (long-time advocates who have built successful advocacy businesses) through a handful of folks who are just getting started and who arrived as sponges intending to absorb everything they could.

The experience was, in a word, magical. The energy in the room was electric.There was a constant buzz and hum of shared ideas and experiences. There were the usual words of advice that everyone has read or heard in the past, mixed with some surprises when the leaders were asked, “What do you wish you had known when you started your new practice that you didn’t know then?”

There was laughter, there were stories, there was joy, there were “on no!” moments, and there were “aha!” moments, and there was, as attendees departed, a sense of companionship, collaboration, and growing confidence, as in “I got this.”

I came away from this experience as I did from the networking experience in San Diego last month, with a stronger belief than before that private, independent advocacy is maturing, and that the phrase “paying it forward” is alive and well.

This is a change, by the way. A huge one, worth noting here, because I haven’t always been confident in that notion.

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Channeling Oliver Twist and the Two Steps of MORE

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This past week, for the first time, AdvoConnection Directory-listed APHA members were able to access their statistics (analytics) for their AdvoConnection profiles.

  • How many visitors found the advocate’s profile in the last month?
  • How many of those visitors were unique? (first visits)
  • How long did they stay, on average, to read the profile?

Of course, the idea for each listed advocate is to try to improve upon those numbers, month over month, knowing that the MORE people who contact them, the MORE clients they may end up working with…

Or, with a nod to Charles Dickens, and channeling Oliver Twist, “Please Sir! I want some more!”

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