Keys to Making Your Voice Heard in Your Community and Country, Today and For Years to Come


Jennifer WilkovBy Jennifer S. Wilkov, Founder of the Speak Up Women Conference,

With our nation at odds in the wake of the recent presidential election, many individuals have taken to forming groups to raise their collective voices about what they passionately believe in. Their efforts strive to coalesce community around mutual issues of concern and to create a movement to give voice to those concerns.

As a country founded on the principles of democracy, speaking up and protesting is our heritage. It is also our right. It is about forming community and “securing the Blessings of Liberty” – from the Preamble in the Constitution – in a way that acknowledges and respects all people in our country and our individual rights to speak up.

However, many groups authentically formed in the wake of upset and/or disagreement disband and dissolve. One reason for failure is that the  hastily-formed organizations are wrought with mistakes that make it impossible for them to continue or make a substantive impact.

If you want to form a long-lived group to express your voice in support of what you believe is important and needs to be done, here are four pivotal ingredients to include in your recipe for continuous success:

1) Be Clear. Clearly define what your group or organization is specifically focused on and what your position is. What is it that you want your members to support and “shout” about? The more specific you are, the more individuals you will find who can self-select themselves as members who want to be a part of what you want to do.

2) Create Cohesion. Define Your Vision, Mission, and What You Do. Articulating a clear vision and mission for your efforts is essential for enrolling, engaging and keeping others committed. In order for individuals to sign on, stay on and continually support an effort, they must be clear about what it is you are asking them to do, fight for and speak up about. You must also lay the foundation for how your group intends to achieve that which you have envisioned. That means “our mission” or your “how we do this” statement must be easy to understand so people readily sign on and commit to staying on to make the organization’s vision a reality.

 3) Establish Core Values. Identifying the unifying force for a group of people is essential for keeping them enrolled. Core values are the ties that bind groups. They are part of each individual’s decision-making process when you ask them to sign up or donate their time and or money to support your efforts.

4) Encourage Collaboration.  When you are able to provide and articulate the core values shared by those involved in your efforts, it makes it quick and easy for others to raise their hands, sign up and collaborate to support what you are doing. It simplifies your enrollment process since those who feel the same way can easily say, “That’s important to me too!” Get clear about your group’s shared values and what is important to those who are members of your group – and you will provide the glue that will keep those you enroll with you for a longer time.

Understand that one inciting incident does not a long-lasting group or organization necessarily make. In order to cast your group for longevity, you will need to be clear and set forth a cohesive and collaborative foundation. With that, you will have the best chance to be successful now, and for many years to come.

About the Author: Jennifer S. Wilkov is the founder and producer of Speak Up Women (, a national conference designed to support women with understanding the importance and impact speaking up has in their personal, professional and philanthropic lives.  The 2017 conference is set for March 3rd at the United Nations. 



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