Check out this calendar with actions you can take to advocate for the arts from home year-round!

Advocacy Toolkit For Individuals

Why Advocacy?

As a constituent, you are the ideal grassroots advocate to convey to members of Congress how essential the arts and arts education are to your community. You have the power to educate them about the importance of the arts in your community and to engage them on important arts issues on Capitol Hill.  Without your help, your member of Congress may not realize the ability of the arts to support jobs, engage kids in school, and change lives in your district. We want to make it easy for you to take action, build relationships with your representative's office, and highlight the advocacy work you are doing in your community and schools.

Want to take action, but aren't sure where to begin?  We've put together some resources for you to customize and start advocating with ease. Below, you’ll find four easy ways to get in touch with your Members of Congress.  Be sure to refer to the calendar for simple advocacy actions to take from home throughout the year.  

Four Ways to Reach Out to Your Members of Congress as an Individual:

1. Use customizable letters online to e-mail your representative about current legislative issues. Just select an issue and enter your information to send your representatives customizable letter. Topics range from National Endowment for the Arts' appropriations to arts education funding.

2. Want to share your support with the local press? Use the E-Advocacy Action Center to write a letter to the editor of your local paper.

3. Remind your member of Congress about the impact creative industries have in your district.  Login to the website to download a customized Creative Industries map for your county showing arts-related jobs and businesses.  Make sure your representative is aware of the presence of these creative organizations and the jobs they support.

4. Meeting with your Representative or their staff in person? Here are some quick questions to ask:

 

Advocacy Toolkit for Organizations

As an Organization, Why Advocate at the Federal Level?

As a local arts organization, your organization can make a difference in conveying the impact of the arts and arts education in your communities to Members of Congress. Without your help, your Member of Congress may not realize the ability of the arts to support jobs, engage kids in school, and change lives in your district. You have the power to educate them about the importance of the arts in your community and to engage them on important arts issues on Capitol Hill.  We want to make it easy for you to take action, build relationships with your representative's office, and highlight the advocacy work you are doing in your community.

Want to learn about how your organization can lobby effectively and what you can say legally as an organization?  Check out the Rules of the Road to learn the difference between advocacy and lobbying.  We've also compiled this memo guide to understanding the Congressional gift rules.  

Six Ways to Reach out to Your Members of Congress as an Organization:

1. Invite your Members of Congress and Senators to learn more about your organization and develop a connection with their office.

  • Make a habit of sending invitations for exhibition openings, performances, educational workshops, and more to your Member of Congress and Senators.  If possible, invite them to give brief remarks. Download this sample invite as a guide.
  • Follow-up on your invitation with a phone call to the district office.  If they are unable to attend, ask for a meeting when they are back in the district.

2. Remind your Member of Congress and Senators about the impact of the creative industries in your district.

  • Login to the website to download a customized Creative Industries map for your district or state showing arts-related jobs and businesses.
  • Make sure your legislator is aware of the presence of these creative organizations and the jobs they support.

3. If you are a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant, let your representative know what a difference your NEA grant made for you and your community.  

  • Check out a full list of NEA grants by state here.  
  • Download this sample letter to let your Member of Congress and Senators know about your NEA grant in their district.

4. Meeting with your Representative or their staff in person?  Here are some quick questions to ask:

5. Visit the Americans for the Arts Action Fund website for online tools including customizable letters you can send your representative about current legislative issues.

6. Does your organization have arts advocacy programs?  Take advantage of the same tools Americans for the Arts uses for online advocacy and become a Voter Voice Affiliate to get access to this tool to boost your local advocacy efforts.  Contact State and Local Government Affairs Manager Elisabeth Dorman for more information.