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Advocacy Tips

Below is The Citizens’ Guide to Arts Advocacy, published by Citizens for the Arts in PA, and other tips adapted from advocacy documents of the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign.

 

 

THE CITIZENS’ GUIDE TO ARTS ADVOCACY

Citizens for the Arts in PA‘s primer on how to effectively advocate for the arts.

 

 

 

To positively impact the lives of Pennsylvania’s children, citizens must communicate continuously and consistently with their elected officials. Communication can consist of phone calls, letters, e-mails, or personal visits.

Communicate Tips for Phone Calls:

1. Call state legislators in their Capitol or district offices. When the legislature is in session, state House and Senate members are usually in their Harrisburg offices Mondays through Wednesdays and in their district offices Thursdays and Fridays.

2. Identify yourself. Tell the person answering the phone who you are, whom you represent, and your reason for calling.

3. Ask to speak with your lawmaker directly. If he or she is not available, ask for a staff person with direct responsibility for your area of interest. A receptionist can share your legislators’ schedule and meeting availability.

4. Leave a message with the receptionist or aide, voicing your support or opposition to the House or Senate bill or policy issue in question.

5. Be concise. State your reason for supporting or opposing the bill or the issue. Ask the lawmaker’s position.

6. Don’t burn bridges. Be polite even if the lawmaker does not agree with you. You may need his or her support in the future.

7. Follow up your phone call with a thank you note, briefly restating your conversation.

Communicate Personal Visits:

1. Plan your visit carefully. Know what you want to say and how you are going to say it. For suggested talking points, please see our Policy Agenda.

2. Make an appointment.

3. Be on time, but be patient if necessary. Remember, many people are waiting for the same opportunity to discuss their issues with lawmakers.

4. Bring a reference sheet with quick bullet points about your issue that you can leave with the lawmaker (see attachment).

5. Find out the lawmaker’s position on the issue and the reason for his or her position.

6. Always be polite, even if the lawmaker does not share your position on the issue. You may need his or her support in the future.

7. Follow up your meeting with a thank you note.

Communicate Writing Letters, Sending E-mails:

While e-mails, form letters, and petition signing can be effective, they generally are less so than individually signed personal letters.

1. When writing letters, state your purpose in the first paragraph. If you are writing about a particular bill, identify it in the first paragraph.

2. Explain the importance of your position.

3. Identify yourself and your organizational affiliation.

4. Keep the letter simple and concise. Address only one issue per letter. Keep your letter short, with only a few sentences in each paragraph and appropriate spacing between paragraphs.

5. Whenever possible, personalize your story.

Addressing Correspondence and Greetings:
Find your elected officials’ addresses at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/

State Representative
Honorable (Representative’s full name)
House P.O. Box (insert box number)
Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Dear Representative (last name),

State Senator
Honorable (Senator’s full name)
Senate P.O. Box (insert box number)
Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Dear Senator (last name),

Governor
Honorable Tom Corbett
Governor
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Dear Governor Corbett,