10 Ways to Start Your Own Support or Advocacy Group
Have you ever thought about starting your own support or advocacy group? Maybe in your area, lupus is not as well-known as it is in other areas. Perhaps you just need a support group of people that can identify with what you are going through. Whatever the reason, sometimes starting your own support or advocacy group may be needed. There are many ways to spread awareness and garner support. One way is to start your own support or advocacy group. This may sound scary, but it may help you on your lupus journey.
How I started my own lupus support and advocacy group
I took a leap of faith to start my own lupus support and advocacy group. Out of my necessity to learn more about lupus upon diagnosis, I created Lupus In Color. I started Lupus In Color in 2012 as a local support group meeting once a month. Lupus In Color was the only group meeting monthly for support in my area. I saw the need and realized the importance of having a support group. Moreover, since founding Lupus In Color, it has grown to be an international online support and advocacy group supporting lupus warriors worldwide and spreading lupus awareness to the masses.
Why I started Lupus In Color
Sometimes in order to get the assistance you need, you have to forge your own way. I found that I knew what I needed, and I believed that others would need the same. So, I made a way to do things that helped me get to others with the same needs I had on my lupus journey. Today I am sharing 10 ways to start your own support or advocacy group in your area.
10 Ways to start your own support or advocacy group
- Identify what type of group you want to start. Make sure you identify what you would like to focus on: support, advocacy, or awareness. This will narrow it all down and bring focus to your goals.
- Research if there are other groups in your area. Look to make sure you aren’t duplicating something that is being done. Understand the unmet need in your area so you can reach those that require assistance.
- Speak to other organizers in your area. Talk to others to see how they did it or if they can help you. Find out how they can assist or if you can collaborate.
- Find others who want to help with your cause. This could be other lupus warriors or supporters who can spread the word. Check around to see how you can garner help.
- Decide how you will meet. For instance, you may meet online or in person. Contact local libraries and community rooms that are centrally located for in-person meetings. Then, find the most cost-effective way for online meetings like Zoom or other online meeting programs.
- Compute any start-up costs. Find out if there are any start-up costs. Will you need to pay for space, food, and prizes?
- Choose a convenient date and time for the meeting. Choose a time that works for you, and those who you have identified will be a part of the meeting.
- Prepare informative materials. Set your first meeting up with a theme and provide information or speakers within that theme for the meeting.
- Attend other organizational events. It’s important to network and see if others would be interested in attending or know others that would like to attend. As a result, you can get more supporters for your cause.
- Finally, have a Grand Opening. Create fliers and ask others to spread the word about your group. And get ready for the big day.
Set dates and times for 6 months of meetings with themes, information, and speakers. Create a calendar with goals to follow. This will keep you on track and help you stay consistent.
It won't be easy
In conclusion, starting your own support or advocacy group isn't easy. But it is worth it to help yourself and others. The trick is to stay consistent no matter how many people become involved. Have you ever tried to start your own group? What tips would you give others trying to start a group? Let me know in the comments.
Have you ever had to change holiday plans because of lupus?