Advocacy Checklist for Organizations

Apr 27, 2010

Integrate advocacy into your organizational practice. Remember, communication with elected officials is most effective when it is ongoing, rather than simply during a crisis. Build relationships with elected officials and share with them what your organization does and why it is beneficial to the community.

Year-round advocacy activities for organizations:

Belong and Keep Informed

If you aren’t already on the Performing Arts Alliance’s email list, sign up now to receive updates.
Join or renew your organization’s Americans for the Arts membership and membership in any state or local arts advocacy organizations.
Appoint a staff or board member to get involved with your state’s arts advocacy organization, either as a board member or as an “advocacy liaison” that remains abreast of arts advocacy activity. This person can report to your board on federal, state and local political activity affecting the arts.

Assess How your Organization is Doing

Do a self-assessment of your organization’s advocacy activity. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) has created a useful self-assessment tool.


Reach Out to Elected Officials & Build Relationships

Put your elected officials on your organization’s mailing list. Make sure the data is updated annually or as elections occur.
Invite your elected officials for a tour of your facility and educate them about what you do and how your community benefits.
nvite your elected officials to openings and community celebrations and ask them to make a short speech about the importance of the arts and culture to your community. Take pictures of elected officials at these events and send them to your local paper.
Include photos of elected officials attending your events on your website and in your newsletter as a way to build relationships with these elected officials.
When your organization receives a grant from your state arts council or other state agencies, write a thank you note to your legislators and to the Governor. When your organization receives a grant from a federal agency, write a thank-you note to your Congressional representative and your Senators.
When you are turned down for a grant due to lack of funds, write to your legislators and Governor asking for increased support for arts and culture.
Communicate and Educate

If you publish a newsletter, periodically include a feature on the value of arts and culture to the community as ongoing education to an audience who is interested in the arts. This could make the case for the value of the performing arts specifically, for the benefits of educational outreach programming and arts education, or for the economic impact of the arts, among other themes. The piece could come from your director, a board member, senior staff member, or even a student or community member who would like to advocate on behalf of your organization.
Initiate an Op/Ed piece in your local newspaper on the value of arts and culture. This piece could run at any time of the year or could be strategically timed to support a key local, county, or state budget vote.

Image by Hilde Vanstraelen via Stockxchnge

Tags: Advocacy, Elected Officials, Elections, Campaigns, National Arts and Humanities Month, Performing Arts Alliance

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ADVOCACY: Be an Advocate