Lessons and Advice
- Based on the proven principle that many heads create great ideas, always invite others to work with you.
- Gather and mobilize those who will be affected by the changes you propose. Then engage others who may be in related organizations (for instance, the children of seniors). The more people you can get working together for change, the more likely it is to happen. Appreciate and value the skills others bring to the table including the knowledge and skills of seniors themselves.
- Remember that change is a slow process and appreciate fully even the smallest victories. To be an effective activist, you must strongly believe in what you're doing and believe you can make changes—only then can you make positive things happen.
- One person can make a difference and often it takes just one to come up with the idea. But then that one must gather others to help. Don't try to do it alone but build up your team with care, understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, and filling the gaps between.
- Trust others to do key tasks—your way is not the only way. Nobody is indispensable.
- Be ready to cope with difficult board members by anticipating what they will bring forth. Some people come on a Board because they care about the organization or issue, but others will have their own agenda—and these can the one who cause difficulties.
- Stay in the government's communication channels. Keep sending the same messages about seniors' rights and roles in society to any group you talk to. Talk to government repeatedly and keep government officials educated and appeal to their sense of civic duty.
- Get good media coverage.
- Research skills are key to credibility. People have to be able to trust what you're telling them, so always get the facts and do the research.
- Be credible or you will lose support, because when people don't believe in you anymore, they won't listen.
- Listening skills are important, so learn how to be a good listener.
- Be "a people person" and enjoy working with others and ensure that they like working with you! You will need collaboration and team support skills.
- Develop and sustain patience.
- Love others and their contributions to the team.
- Avoid making false, fuzzy, or misleading statements that can be refuted.
Never underestimate the power of creative thinking by a variety of people from a variety of disciplines.