There are five different types of support you can seek ahead of launching any type of initiative inside of your organization:

Moral support—this type of support comes from individuals who cannot give material support, but who believe fervently in whatever it is that you are doing. Belief in you, belief in the initiative, belief in the story of the initiative—these stories distill down into moral support.

Material support—this type of support comes from individuals who may not morally (or ethically) believe in what you’re doing, but they have access to power, money, and other organizational resources. Sometimes this access is conditional, sometimes this access is unconditional, and sometimes this access starts as one thing and ends as another.

Emotional support—this type of support is often confused with moral support in the mind of the person receiving it. The important difference is that moral support has little to do with whether I like you or not. Emotional support is all about whether I like you or not.

Public support—this type of support generates the same feelings of “being picked” in the person receiving it that being chosen on the grade school playground engenders. Public support is oriented not towards you—or towards the initiative you are championing—but is oriented toward convincing the audience that you are supported and that what you are championing has value.

Private support—this type of support generates the same feelings in the person being supported that material support does. The important difference is that private support is almost always exactly that: private. In this context, private means: “I’m supporting what you’re doing, but politically it’s more important for me to preserve private face than to endure the consequences of public exposure.”

When you’re launching an initiative, be sure that you are carefully considering what type of support you are seeking, and from whom.