To find the names and addresses of your representatives go to www.congress.org and type in your zip code. Add your representatives to your mailing list. Make sure they get your flyers, postcards and requests for annual donor support.
   
TEN STEPS TO BECOMING AN EFFECTIVE ARTS ADVOCATE
National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
   
1)
Learn who your legislators are, their committee assignments, their positions in the legislative leadership, and their records on arts issues.
2)
Build a relationship with your legislators and their staff. Visit them in their offices in the capital or when they are at home.
3)
Keep informed about issues affecting the arts and let your legislators know your position on these issues.
4)
Become involved with your elected officials. Reinforce the support you receive from your legislators with letters of thanks, awards and campaign support.
5)
Understand the legislative process, including the strategic importance of compromise.
6)
Alert other advocates to take action on arts-related legislation.
7)
Coordinate advocacy with other groups. Build a coalition of arts advocates.
8)
Participate in local political events to give visibility to the arts on the public policy agenda.
9)
Understand the impact of public arts funding in the community.
10)
Provide policy makers with the information they need to make the case. Know the facts, and present the information clearly and succinctly.
   
TEN NO-BRAINER STEPS TO BECOMING A DAILY ARTS ADVOCATE
(From A Bunch of Arts Workers Just Sitting Around Brainstorming)

 
1)
Go to www.congress.org and type in your zip code. Get the names and addresses of your representatives and put them on your mailing list. Make sure they get your flyers, postcards and requests for annual donor support.
2)
When you learn about an issue or a piece of legislative action, put it in your programs, your newsletter, on your website and/or on handouts in your lobby.
3)
Tell your board of directors, your favorite donors, and your artists what you think about any issue you become aware of. (This is conversation, not lobbying.)
4)
Add as a final item to every meeting agenda, "Does anyone know anything that's going on in the legislature/city council/school board that we should be aware of?"
5)
Steal or adapt information from other organizations' materials if they are a few steps ahead of you on the information ladder.
6)
Coordinate advocacy with other groups. Build a coalition of arts advocates. (This one speaks for itself.)
7)
If you can't make it to local political events or hearings, get a report about what happened.
8)
If you make a curtain pitch or other live pitch for donations, mention any action you might be taking and let your audience know how they can take action. If you want them to make phone calls or write letters, have the numbers available.
9)
Provide sample letters or emails or talking points for people you are asking to do something specific.
10)
Remember that every conversation about your work is an opportunity to change the way your work is perceived. Be passionate, be informed and be unapologetic.
   
TIPS FOR COMMUNICATING WITH ELECTED OFFICIALS
Virginians for the Arts

Whether you decide to telephone, write or e-mail your elected officials, these next few tips will make the process a little easier.

If you decide to phone your elected official remember that calls are usually taken by a staff member. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the issues about which you wish to comment on. After identifying yourself, tell the aide you would like to leave a brief message, such as: "Please tell (Representative's name) that I support or oppose (state the issue). You will also want to state reasons for your support or opposition to the bill. Ask for your representative's position on the bill. You may also request a written response to your telephone call.

The letter is the most popular choice of communication in dealing with elected officials. If you decide to write a letter, these suggestions will improve the effectiveness of the letter:

Your purpose for writing should be stated in the first paragraph of the letter. If your letter pertains to a specific piece of legislation, identify it.

Be courteous, to the point and include key information, using examples to support your position.

Address only one issue in each letter; and if possible, keep the letter to one page.

Generally, e-mailing an elected official follows the same guidelines as writing a letter. Just remember to properly address the elected official by The Honorable (full name).

   
 
 
                             
 
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