Thursday, January 27, 2011

Becoming a Compassion Advocate

Seeing as I have recently been promoting the Compassion Advocates Network, it might be a good idea to give a more detailed explanation of the process and what it entails.

My Advocate journey started in December of 2009, about six months after we started sponsoring our very first Compassion International child. I was just so amazed and “on fire” over the work that CI does, that I called them to ask if they could send me informational brochures to hand out and hang up on public bulletin boards. The man who answered the phone suggested becoming an Advocate, but my inner-critic immediately said, “No, no, that’s too big of a responsibility. I’m a busy stay-at-home Mom with too much on my plate already.” But, God was working on my heart. The next day, I found myself on the Compassion website reading all about the Advocates Network and by the end of the day I had filled out my application.

You may be curious what is involved in being an Advocate and how the process works. Things have changed a bit since December 2009, but I’ll walk you through the steps involved.

First, you’ll want to go to the Advocate's area of the Compassion website. You’ll be able to read the complete Advocate Position Description and take a look at the application. Unlike how it was when I first joined the network, there are no longer different “levels” of Advocates. You are welcome to serve in a way that works for you.

“Ultimately, advocacy is a self-initiated and self-scheduled volunteer position where you will personally manage your own time commitment and activity. Based upon your geographic location and giftings, you will be connected with a Regional Advocate Manager and fellow leadership Advocates to help facilitate your own intentional ministry efforts.”

Next, you will fill out the application. This covers your basic contact information, your history with Compassion, info about your Spiritual Leader for a reference, a little bit of info about your church and a statement of faith. You also have to agree to a background check. Once your application is submitted, you’ll be contacted about scheduling a phone interview.

Now, I will admit, I am not a big “phone person” and I was initially intimidated by the thought of having a phone interview. My fears were unwarranted, though. The phone call was actually very enjoyable, chatting about how I came to Christ and started sponsoring and what I might like to do in my Advocacy. (For those of us who are stay-at-home Moms with rugrats running around, they are so flexible that they will schedule phone interviews at a time that works for you - Whether it be nap-time or after bedtime!)

After the interview, I was sent an email with links to the different Internet Based Training clips. I just loved this training! I learned so much more about the work that Compassion does and how it all comes together to truly help. I could do the training whenever I had time, even in five minute increments, if that is all I had in between cleaning and tending to the kids.

Once the training was completed, there was one more phone interview and then I was officially an Advocate! The whole process took me about 2 months, but that is because I worked through everything slowly and had to work around my “day job” of being a homeschool teacher, domestic engineer and full time Mama. Like I said, Compassion is very flexible in all of this.

Now, once you are an Advocate, what do you do? The pat answer is, whatever you can! Your advocacy may look like putting up brochures and telling your friends and family about Compassion. You may enjoy working tables at Compassion sponsored events and concerts. (I really, really enjoy this aspect of it! Free concerts and connecting children with sponsors? What could be better?) You may like to present Compassion at churches or to small groups. You have the ability to decide what kind of activities you’d like to do. You also have the opportunity to go to regional Advocates conferences which are really incredible. I attended my first in March of 2010 and got to be in the fellowship of many passionate sponsor/advocates. We brainstormed ways to promote Compassion, learned more about the in-depth work Compassion does and got the chance to listen to a formerly sponsored child (now an accomplished young man) tell his story. Don’t forget to bring tissues!

The most incredible part of being an Advocate, in my opinion, is to be present as children are connected with their potential sponsors. You get to witness God at work, which is SO exciting! I come home from every Compassion event, feeling like I am floating!

Are you feeling a tug on your heart to begin your Advocate’s journey? Click here to read more! If you have any questions, I’ll try to answer them to the best of my ability. I can guarantee that it will be a blessing in your life and you’ll have the opportunity to help bless many children living in poverty around the world ~ in Jesus’ name!



Lydia said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Michelle. Like yourself, I feel as if I have way too much on my plate at the time. Right now I still feel a little "overwhelmed". My oldest starts first grade this year, so I'm preparing all the materials and setting everything up for that. And then I have a 3 and 4 year old I'm teaching and training as well, not to mention all my other household duties.
I will for sure look into it sometime this year, because I have a heart for this ministry (Compassion) and want to do everything I can to help these children. I believe that God will lead and direct me in the right time to sit down and join you and many others in this journey.
Again, thanks so much. You're so helpful concerning Compassion, and I love reading your blogs (big fan here :o) ).
God bless,

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Hi Lydia! I know that God will lead you when the time is right. I think that the flexibility of the Network is really great and opens it up to all sort of people, from the busy stay at home mom to the 40 hour a week, work out of the home parent! You're free to devote as much time as you can!
I'm glad that you find this blog helpful, too! It always makes me day to hear that! Thank you!

faithlikemustard said...

THANK YOU!! Just what I was wanting to know! :)

Jenn L. said...

As always, Michelle, you've been so helpful. Thank you for sharing this valuable information.

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

You are very welcome! Happy to help!

Indigo Dawn said...

Thank you for the information. I have been considering becoming an advocate for a few months now. In May 2009 I received a mailout from Compassion about the Advocates Network. At the time, it looked interesting but I thought that I really wasn't cut out for that sort of thing. Well, a lot has changed in the relatively short amount of time between then and now! Last year, probably around October I started wondering what more I could do to help - like perhaps encouraging my church to do a Compassion Sunday. In wondering about whether or not I would be up to actually speaking on a Compassion Sunday, I remembered the Advocates Network. I found that mailout and looked over it again, and this time I wasn't intimidated by it. I have come to know (in a personal, experiential way) that I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me. I actually chose to take a Public Speaking class in college this semester with the purpose in mind of gaining confidence and competence so I can indeed speak on Compassion Sunday or, well, whenever. I am hoping to give one of my speeches in class on Compassion International / child sponsorship / poverty... something along those lines.

I am seriously considering it. It has kinda gone on the back burner for now though, as I have a lot of other things going on... and there has been another concern on my mind (North Korea - severe oppression, persecution, starvation, etc).
I am volunteering at a Compassion concert this weekend for the first time (which I am VERY excited about), so I guess that is a good start. At this point I don't even know what questions to ask about being an Advocate, so I am glad you were able to fill in some information I didn't know to look for, like that there isn't designated levels anymore.

Okay, I have just one question out of curiosity: besides the ones mentioned in your post, what other sort of activities might an Advocate do?

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Hi there! I can see that God is working in your life when it comes to this and that is exciting!
I would say that an Advocate's main goals would probably be spreading the word about the organization and finding support for the programs. Spreading the word could be done in SO many ways, the sky is the limit! Talking to people, putting up signs and fliers, holding events, speaking at church, youth groups, community events, and so on. Finding support for the organization could be from finding sponsors for children in the Child Development program, the Child Survival Program and Leadership and Development program to finding funding for the Complementary Interventions such as the AIDS initiative, Bite Back (malaria prevention and treatment), the medical funds, etc. You could do anything from a bake sale to car wash to door-to-door collections and walk-a-thons. Again, there aren't specifics, and creativity is encouraged!

K Renaye said...

Hi Michelle!! Thanks so much for answering my questions. You have helped tremendously. I've been considering it for a couple of months now and when I signed on to sponsor 3 additional children, I decided I really desire to do more for CI. I am so blessed that the Lord sent you my way. I am in between church homes right now but have been visiting the same one for about 6 months. How does that work or are they just wanted to confirm my character? I will fill out the application and see where God leads ..... Thanks again!!

Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing this post. I have been seriously thinking about being an Advocate. It helps to know a little more about it!

Teena said...

Thanks so much. You helped calm my fears so to speak.

I am excited to become a Compassion Advocate!


meriley139 said...

Thanks so much for commenting on my blog and telling me to check this out. It really helped me understand even more about the process and it has made me even more excited about becoming an advocate. So thanks again!!!!

Lula Bee Boutique said...

Thank you so much for sharing this!!! Reading this is such a blessing for me today. I have been praying for my husband to come around and sponsor a child for awhile. He can be very skeptical about giving money after an intial request I decided not to "pester" him about it, but to let the Lord speak to him in His own way. Funny thing happened...our daughter kept listening to the Mercy Me song Won't You Be My Love? And now here we are today with my husband's blessing, I just picked our child and signed up. My heart is overjoyed and I am already wanting to do more to promote this amazing cause. I can't wait to get started!

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Ah, your comment made me smile! I am so happy that you waited it out and let this unfold in God's timing. If you have questions as all, feel free to ask ~ either through comment or email (in my sidebar).

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle i got these kids hampering me for sponsorship and i want to get them registered on compassion but dont know how.Thank you

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Anonymous, I am not sure if I know what you mean or what you are asking. Could you please elaborate?

Mobilmom said...

I have filled out the form about a month ago and have not heard back. Do you know how long it takes for them to contact you?

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Hi, Sonya! If I remember correctly, it takes about a month. However, things may have been slowed down a bit by the holidays. You could give them a call if you're looking for an idea of how much longer you'll be waiting!

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