1. Be informed. Get information on the issues. Join Texans for the Arts to become informed about the issues.
  2. Find out who your elected officials are at the local, county, state and federal levels. If you don’t know who they are you can use this website to make that determination: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/. Create a file on each of the elected officials with background materials, correspondence sent and received, news clippings, and more. Create a contact log for elected officials so you can document your progress with them.
  3. Put elected officials on your mailing lists and ask to be put on theirs. Mutual awareness of what each other cares about is essential to building a strong relationship.
  4. Share your success stories. Ask elected officials to distribute materials about your programs and activities at their office. Most of the elected officials will have a place in their offices for information about the districts they represent. Allow these people to be active in helping to promote your organization.
  5. Send a poster or photograph to your elected officials to display in their offices. Visual reminders help reinforce their awareness of you – especially if the picture is of them at one of your events. (It is a good idea to check with the office manager first because there may be issues involved in accepting gifts.)
  6. Openly credit your public funding sources. Placards in the lobby, credit lines in programs, press releases in newspapers are all tools that take little time to create, but make an enormous impact.
  7. Say thank you – a lot! If you don’t have time to write, make a call. Never let the elected official forget you are out there.
  8. Create visibility for your elected officials. Explore creative options for them to get positive exposure in their district through your venue or organization. Provide them with opportunities at your public events. Invite them to talk to your board, staff and volunteers about the importance of your organization to the community. This will force their staff to research your organization and get to know you better.
  9. Act regularly and promptly. Don’t wait for someone else to take care of the issues. Make a commitment to do what you are able to do, no matter how small it may seem. Start believing that a single voice can make a difference.
  10. Activate advocacy. Find others to join you in delivering your message. A business owner makes a meaningful case about arts and economic development. A school principal brings additional credibility to your case for arts in the schools. Make advocacy part of everyone’s job description (board, staff, and volunteers), because they all have a role to play in it.

Adapted from
American for the Arts Monograph Volume 1 Number 2