Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) Legislative Agenda Texas Legislature 101 Advocacy Basics Getting Started Take Action Bill Tracker Advocacy Resources
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Advocacy is identifying, embracing and promoting a cause, and then using information and education to make a compelling case for that cause. It can shape public perception, as well as public policy.
Advocacy can take shape in many ways, including through outreach, letters, articles, and social media. Reaching out to elected officials about the importance of the arts is a form of advocacy. Using research, created materials, and personal stories are all ways of getting your message heard, and getting your cause the attention it deserves.
Lobbying involves advocating for a specific opinion on a piece of legislation; you can push for your officials (or in the case of a ballot initiative or referendum, citizens) to either vote for or against a piece of legislation. Lobbying is a part of advocacy, but advocacy includes a broader range of activities that promote a cause. For more information, click HERE.
In our democracy, our voices are an important part of the legislative process. Our expertise and experience can have a major impact. If we fail to use our voices to speak up for our issues, then we allow others to make the decisions about the future of the areas we care about -- sometimes without all the information that we know is important.
Advocacy makes a change. A strong advocacy effort has the power to help elected officials understand the importance of an issue, or, if they already understand, to become an even bigger supporter of the cause. If officials see that citizens care about an issue, they are more inclined to take action, and with the information advocates provide, can make more informed decisions.
You can advocate directly to a number of different elected individuals including city council members, the mayor, school board members, state and national representatives and senators, and more. You can also share your story with others such as the press to help spread the message of your advocacy.
Nonprofits can and should be involved in advocacy and lobbying activities for issues that affect their work and their community. There are certain rules to note, an overview of which can be found HERE. It is important to note that nonprofits cannot participate in electioneering, which means they cannot support or oppose a specific candidate for office; however, individuals working for these organizations may campaign for a specific candidate separate from their work with the organization.
To find an advocacy activity to get involved with, visit our Getting Started page. There we break down some basic advocacy activities based on how much time you have to get involved. We also have a number of resources available on our Advocacy Resources page. And we are always available to help you get started. Email us at [email protected] if you need assistance.