As animal advocates, we work to inspire others to show compassion for all animals and the planet. But how much time to spend assessing our impact? We may increase our impact by reflecting on our advocacy. I hope these questions cause you to think critically about your advocacy and motivate you to continue to explore ways you can most effectively impact change.
1. How much money do I donate to support nonprofit animal rescue and advocacy organizations every year? Does it reflect the sense of urgency I feel to save animals’ lives? (If you donate $400 per year and you earn $40,000 per year, you are donating one percent of your annual salary.)
2. When I advocate on social media, am I looking for attention or am I taking steps to make a real, concrete, measurable difference in the lives of animals, and does the way I spend my time in my personal life reflect how much I care about animals?
3. Have I thought critically about my theory of change, and does research exist to support its efficacy?
4. Am I recognizing the work of others and do I help other advocates and nonprofit animal advocacy organizations achieve their goals?
5. Do I represent the cause of animal advocacy with dignity in the way I conduct myself and treat others?
6. Do I advocate to make myself feel better or to help animals?
7. How do I evaluate whether or not my advocacy is effective?
8. Am I committed to learning by attending workshops and conferences, reading articles and books, watching videos, and asking for feedback?
9. Do I have a full understanding of the decisions I still make that harm animals and am I advocating with humility and taking steps to reduce my negative impact?
10. Do I take initiative to accomplish victories for animals by leading the way or do I mainly surround myself with like-minded people and hope someone else will make the changes we need?
For the horse forced to pull people in a carriage in extreme temperatures, the dog tethered in a backyard, the whale swimming in circles of boredom in a tank, the circus elephant being jabbed with a bullhook and transported across the country in a truck, the rabbit enduring ghastly experiments in a lab, the pig wondering why she has been caged, the fox about to be skinned for her fur, the polar bear trapped in the zoo, and the turkey about to be scalded alive, everything we do matters. We owe it to them to consider these questions and adjust our advocacy accordingly. We are their only hope.