Advocacy benefits you, your organization, and those whom you serve. The changes in the current political landscape has the potential to affect arts and cultural organizations in ways not seen in decades, making this moment a crucial time to get engaged. In fact, policymakers make decisions every day that impact the work being done in the sector. As a result, elected officials need your expertise on issues that are coming before them and decisions on which they vote. Remember, advocacy is not the same as lobbying. Advocacy is simply identifying, embracing and promoting a cause. Simple as that.
Get Started — Know the Facts
Get informed. Understanding more about arts and culture and how they create value and impact in order to build strong civic communities is a great first step.
”"Advocacy is the opportunity to get off the sideline and participate in the decisions that will impact your community."Sheilah Clay, President & CEO, Neighborhood Service Organization
Be a Resource — Communicate
Make your voice heard, whether it be in-person, through phone calls, emails, postcards or by social media. Every little bit helps. But remember, it’s a process. Developing relationships with your community leaders, political and governmental officials and their staff takes time. Here are some ways you can build those connections and increase engagement.
- Start at the local level. Participate in your local arts commission meetings, and get in touch with your local arts organizations.
- Establish a relationship before you need it! Build connections with your elected officials by attending your local council meetings, town halls or coffee hours.
- Have something to say? Call, email or send a letter to your elected official stating your opinion, but keep it brief.
- Get connected. Ensure elected officials are aware of your programs and the impact you are making in the community by adding them to your mailing lists.
- Go online. Integrate advocacy throughout your social media presence by liking and sharing information from elected officials, sharing policies you support, and messagse from other organizations.