NEOCH hosted our regular gathering of advocates as part of the agencies Annual Meeting for 2014 on April 1, 2015. We gave out three awards this year to Beau Hill as the Social Service Advocate of the Year for 2014. We have not given out this particular award since 2010. We gave Demetrius Barnes, the Volunteer of the Year for 2014 and Norman Wolfe was awarded the Advocate of the Year. We will have details of each in three separate posts. We released our Annual Report or Community Benefit report and posted it on our website here. Notice our attempt to stay relevant with modern Cleveland by utilizing "New Brown's Orange" as our color for this year.
Jennifer, the Board Treasurer provided an overview of some of our accomplishments from 2014 which are detailed in the Annual Report. We talked about the fantastic outreach coordination and the hiring of Denise and Tyrone, which has been a huge improvement in our outreach coordination for the agency. We talked about the Socks Plus campaign and the huge number of donations that we gave out and continue to give out this winter/spring. I gave information about some of the projects we are working on for the next year. Larry did a really nice job in acting as the Master of Ceremony for the Annual Meeting.
The highlight of the evening for the members who attended was the talk by Julian Rogers of Cleveland State University. Rogers is a former County Council member and gave us a good summary of how we could improve our advocacy to be more effective. He talked about:
- Keep the campaigns simple (one to three items). Everytime an elected official sees someone from NEOCH they should think about the advocacy campaign.
- Get to know staff who might be willing to help. Staff do so much of the work behind the scenes.
- Always look for opportunity to compromise.
- Try partnering with diverse groups who might have similar interests but can strengthen your advocacy.
- Make sure that the people affected by the issue take the lead in the advocacy.
- Have a Plan B if your position is not getting much traction.
- Have a good story about the dream that you want to see fulfilled and in the end this is what you want to see accomplished.
- Open up the conversation to as many people as possible--don't focus on only one office or one elected office holder.
- Try to move those who are reluctant to support your position. How can we better position you for this particular issue or cause.
- You must have data to support your position.
- Highlight a specific issue that can be the focus of your campaign referenced turning the shelters into job centers.
The NEOCH Board elected new officers for the next year and thanked everyone for supporting the Coalition over the year.
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