How to Start a Community Advocacy Team
Congratulations on taking the first step to becoming an arts education advocate. This toolkit is here to provide you with all the resources you need to get started organizing in your community.
Sure, it sounds a little intimidating. You care about our kids receiving quality arts education, but how do you turn that concern and passion into action? You will see in the following modules that it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or expertise to bring members of your community together and use your collective voice to make a positive impact on improving arts education in our public schools.
As you get started, there are a couple important things to keep in mind.
1. You need to include community leadership in the planning process
- Buy-in from key stakeholders in your community is vital to the success of your effort. Seeking council from key voices in your community will help you gain insights into your issue your community, and the district culture that you may not already have. Finding answers to questions like -
- What is the history of arts ed in your community?
- Who are the program's biggest supporters on the Board of Education?
- What is the relationship between the district and the local municipality?
- How are current arts ed programs funded?
- How does district leadership respond to advocacy, and what are the best methods by which to effectively communicate to them?
2. You need a VISION
- Often times people get interested in a cause because they are frustrated over a problem and want it to change. Having a vision for what that change looks like is the key to fixing the problem and building a movement for sustained progress. A vision of quality arts education for every student is a great place to start. For ideas on a well-articulated vision for arts education, check out the following resources.
- SMARTS - a program of the CA PTA and CA Alliance for Arts Education
- Arts for All - Los Angeles County's blueprint for arts education
3. You need a GOAL
- In addition to the vision, the goal is the catalyst for being able to rally people around your cause. When you have something specific to say as to HOW you will be working to improve arts education, people will see how their involvement can make a difference. A goal might be something like
- Build support for arts ed among school board candidates through a survey
- Advocate for the district to hire a highly place arts coordinator
- Advocate to district leadership to allocate 5% of the budget to arts education
- Pass a local parcel tax initiative to help fund arts education
Once you have these key starting points well defined, you can begin planning your campaign and recruiting a team. All of these skills and more are covered in this toolkit.