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"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." (Margaret Mead)

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Creating an advocacy group
AAWV began with one person contacting another so we thought it fitting to offer some suggestions about starting an advocacy network. We don’t claim to be experts at starting such groups, but we have some experience we’d like to share with you. Don’t hesitate to contact us with questions, comments, suggestions.

One person can start a group. Set a date, find a place, send out emails, show up, and see what happens. Have an agenda ready for that first meeting—what your vision is but mostly it can be a meet and greet of interested individuals. If there is a particular issue in your community you want to resolve, you could focus on that for your first meeting. But don’t wait. Set the date.

Team work is essential. Form a strong core group of volunteers who work well together. Make sure everyone has the same agenda for forming the group and being in the group.

Communication is key to any successful venture. Website, Facebook, and emails keep people informed. If you have group emails, keep everyone’s address blind, so your list can’t be co-opted. Specific people should control the messages that go out to the volunteers and to the media. When your group knows what its mission is and how it wants to proceed, send a press release announcing the formation of the group, its website, email address, etc.

Meetings with volunteers are essential to keep them informed and for them to inform each other. Have a clear agenda for each meeting with time allotments for each topic. Send the agenda to participants a day or two prior to the meeting. Always send out minutes immediately following a meeting.

Flyers, posters, artwork posted around the community keep your message alive. If you have time and money, make bumper stickers and buttons. You can make business cards, too. Make sure everything you print contains your website, email address, and phone number.

Public and community events are great places to spread your message. Have a table with your material on it. Be educational, never confrontational as you talk to attendees at these events.

Professionalism at all times is essential when you are representing your cause to the public.

Most of the photographs on this site are of animals belonging to AAWV members or are photographs taken
by AAWV members.