Storytelling is a large part of our human fabric. It can be a way to share a life lesson, preserve history or just express one’s experience. Many of us can remember loved ones who were known for their good stories or that one tall tale we were told as children. Stories are an important way to tap into the heart of our audience by conveying our message through emotion. Most people remember the feelings of the underlying message or event rather than facts and figures. We find this to be true in advocacy as well.
When working to create better access to care for our psoriatic disease community, NPF advocacy staff are able to lay the foundation for an issue through facts and studies, but the real driving force is the stories from our patients. Legislators get bombarded all day from people telling them to support or oppose legislation for one reason or another. But what makes them stop and listen is a constituent telling them how they are personally impacted. Many of you have engaged in storytelling through advocacy days at your state capitol, testimony in a committee hearing or submitting an action alert online. It’s you that puts a real face on the issue.
Creating a Bite-Sized Moment
As much as we would like to spend hours with our legislators on issues that matter to us, the legislative process works fast, and time is of the essence. For many of us, it is hard to imagine putting our experiences into a one- to two-minute sound bite; our experiences are months or years in the making.
Our staff helps you get your story ready. We want you to share your story in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Oftentimes this means multiple interactions over the phone or in person before you meet your representatives. We work with you to make you feel like an expert – the expert of your own experience.
Longtime Oregon volunteer Chris Pettit tells about his experience working with staff to get it just right. “I got involved with NPF in 2015. I was at one of the lowest points in my life. It’s been nice to be able to tell my story and also find people who can relate and understand. Getting involved with NPF has given my story meaning. I see my story helping move our mission forward to find a cure,” he says.
Many Voices, One Mission
At NPF, the advocacy department has adopted this slogan: “Many voices, one mission.” This is because our mission is to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. Your voices will help us move forward. Many advocates, like Pettit, continually work with representatives and their staff at the state and federal level to share their experiences as patients.
By telling your story, you can help lawmakers understand how specific bills will directly impact access to care for our patient community. Without stories from patients, these bills would not become law. This is why we encourage you to get involved and tell us your experiences. Our goal is to have your story be what a legislator thinks of before they cast their vote on a bill.