Ballet Austin - Light/The Holocaust and Humanity Project, photo by Tony Spielberg

Advocacy 101

ADVOCACY 101 – IT BEGINS WITH YOU!

As a citizen of the state of Texas, you have the right, the privilege and the responsibility to make your voice heard to your elected officials regarding your perspectives on the value and role the arts play in your life and your community, along with any other legislative issues which you feel strongly about.

The Texas legislative session runs from mid-January through May every odd-numbered year. Although they are only “in session” once each biennium, you have the opportunity to communicate with your elected officials any time of the year and in many ways. In fact, building a professional relationship with your legislator outside of the legislative session in your home community is often easier than waiting for the busy session held in Austin.

On this page, you will find links to a wide variety of resources that can help you do anything from get acquainted with the many facets of advocacy to find your legislators to craft your message to build a network of advocates in your area. Legislators want to hear from their constituents, both individuals and organizations that reside in their districts. Your voice is important in the legislative process, and we hope you will find these tips helpful as you embark on your advocacy campaign. Please let us know if you have any questions along the way!

ADVOCACY RESOURCES

If you are new to advocating, ADVOCACY AND LOBBYING: THE BASICS offers an outline of the fundamentals of this work and tips to help you get started.

Not sure what to say when communicating with your legislator? STATE YOUR CASE AND OFFER A SOLUTION can help you craft a clear and compelling message about the issues that are important to you, whether for an individual meeting or a larger advocacy campaign.

Want some practical tips for advocating for the arts? TEN EASY STEPS TO ACTIVATE ADVOCACY provide a clear and easy-to-follow roadmap for getting informed, finding and contacting your elected officials, and building lasting relationships with them.

Ready to expand your advocacy efforts? Visit FIVE MORE ADVANCED STEPS TO MASTERING ADVOCACY for additional suggestions about building networks of advocates and crafting even more comprehensive messaging around the issues that matter most to you.

There are many ways to connect with your legislative officials. What you choose may depend on your location, your representatives’ schedules, and your specific advocacy goals. No matter what strategy works best for you, you can find more information and suggestions for contacting your legislators at WHEN WRITING TO DECISION MAKERS, WHEN VISITING DECISION MAKERS, and WHEN TESTIFYING TO DECISION MAKERS.

Legislators receive many visits and communications every day and have very busy schedules during the legislative session. Make sure to maximize your efficacy and respect their time by checking out MISTAKES TO AVOID.

Working for a nonprofit organization and want to review the legal regulations for lobbying and advocacy? Our LOBBYING AND THE LAW FOR NONPROFITS UNDER SECTION 501(C)(3) page can help you answer questions about the legalities of lobbying, how much money your organization can spend on advocacy activities, and grassroots lobbying, along with many more topics.

In our SAMPLE SECTION, you will find PDF examples of many types of advocacy materials, including sample key messages, sample letter templateletters, calls to action, and op-eds. These samples can be a great place to start when crafting your messaging and materials for a new or existing advocacy campaign.

We hope you find these materials useful in helping build your own personal advocacy took kit!

 

Texans for the Arts appreciates the following entities and individuals for helping craft this Advocacy Page: Ballet Austin for the original Tool Kit funded by the Meadows Foundation; the Texas Commission on the Arts; and Lauren Smith, Spring 2015 TFA Intern, MFA Candidate in the Drama & Theatre for Youth & Communities program.