Advocacy and Lobbying
ad-vo-ca-cy: The act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause or policy. (The American Heritage Dictionary)
lob-by-ing: Activities aimed at influencing members of a legislative body on legislation. (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law)
What is advocacy? What is Lobbying?
The words advocacy and lobbying are often confused. Advocacy encompasses a wide range of activities. Lobbying is a small part of advocacy: advocacy does not always involve lobbying.
Advocacy is something all of us should do if we believe in the value of public support for the arts; it is democracy in action. Advocacy is building familiarity and trust between you and your elected officials. It is providing reliable information to legislators. Arts advocacy means speaking up for what we believe is important and talking about the arts with people whose support and influence can help our cause.
Lobbying is about making positive change to laws that affect us and the causes we serve. Lobbying is trying to influence the voting of elected officials; it is urging the passage (or defeat) of rules and laws. Lobbying is citizen action at any level of government. It is part of the democratic process.
Making general arguments about the importance of public support for the arts is advocacy. Asking an elected official to vote for an increase in public arts funding in an upcoming vote is lobbying.
Informing elected officials about the role of the arts in education is advocacy. Requesting an elected official’s support for legislation that would mandate arts education in the schools is lobbying.
Explaining to a legislator about the value of encouraging artists’ gifts of their work to museums is advocacy. Urging a legislator to support a bill to allow artists a full value charitable deduction for the donation of their work is lobbying.