Category Archives: Devil’s Advocate
I was reading an interesting article today on Idealist (via Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, hat tip to Ellen!) about embracing failure. I learned from the article that Engineers Without Borders publishes an annual Failure Report about the various things that didn’t work on their project sites and what they learned from those failures.
I sat at my computer for a full minute taking it in. That, I can honestly say, is organizational awesomeness.
Don’t jump all over me. I didn’t say I hate the Arts, or advocacy, or even Arts advocacy. I am all for those things. But Arts Advocacy Day, not so much. (Though I do have to say, this poster is, frankly, pretty marvy.)
I suppose I should qualify my statement a little bit. It’s not so much that I hate the idea of Arts Advocacy Day. Often, people go into it with the wrong mindset, and that bugs me. I used to be one of those people. I would arrive home from a day in Albany, NY (our state capital, and a four-hour round trip) frustrated and tired because I didn’t feel like I had even made a dent. It’s easy to get discouraged as a young professional who is passionate about your cause. You’ll rarely find a representative that is as passionate about it, but it’s (usually) not because they don’t care.
I used to be an advocate for environmental causes in college, and I worked as a canvasser for Citizens Campaign for the Environment for a time. I get it, I do. I know what advocacy accomplishes and why we do it.
There is a fine line between solidarity and white noise. If you go to Advocacy Day to tell your reps anything about your own organization, you can almost guarantee it will get drowned out by the sheer volume of stories that they are hearing that day. Representatives and their assistants (the good ones, anyway, of which the ones in my district fortunately are) do listen and want to help, but they’re not superhuman.