Key Things to Remember
Communicate and engage legislators. When possible introduce yourself to legislators. Get to know them, what they like and dislike. In your communications, try to be brief, clear, accurate, persistent, and grateful for past dollars. Demonstrate that you are enthusiastic and honest. Show respect for your cause and your audience. Invite candidates and elected official to arts events - every arts event is an advocacy event.
Be prepared. Gather data, photographs, examples, and statistics in advance of your appointment, phone call, or letter writing.
Be concise and clear. Pick one point or request and repeat it at the beginning and at the end of your communication. Ask yourself, "What do I want this person to do?"
Personalize your message. Be consistent by using key messages, but also use local examples. Tell them what their community would get if more money was granted. Show grant and award distribution throughout the state. Don't send form letters, petitions, or form cards. When possible personalize your envelope and letters.
Include legislative staff in your advocacy efforts. Meet with legislative aides too, since they are important to the process and help make decisions. Invite legislators and aides to all press events.
Do your research. Before contacting legislators, discover their interests and community involvement, committees on which they serve, and their voting record.
Advocacy Contact Checklist
time on your calendar to regularly work on advocacy- small efforts equal big
Coordinate efforts with other Commissioners in your region (if applicable).
Contact local arts leaders to gather information and facilitate legislator involvement in the arts. The hometown point of view counts the most with politicians. It is the local voice that gets the message through to legislators.
Contact Commission staff well in advance for materials: fact sheets, recent activity in your area, photographs, charts, etc. Read the Rap Sheet and Latitudes so you know what staff is working on. Let the Executive Director know who you will be contacting and when, so that he can coordinate advocacy efforts.
Do your research - learn about your legislators before contacting them. Find out if they are members of the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee (JFAC) and if they are supportive of the arts.
Build relationships with your local school districts, arts councils, artists, and arts organizations to learn more about their activities.
Don't forget to send your personal messages and requests to the Governor, the superintendent of public instruction, and other key state agency directors. * Report your advocacy activity to the Commission.
Share your results and ideas at Commission meetings; e-mail commissioners and staff.