Visit policy makers in person — a year-round advocacy calendar

Without a doubt, the most effective type of advocacy is face-to-face engagement with your members of Congress when they are at home, throughout the year. “Advocacy” is a broad term, and you are likely already doing it! Simply put, it is in every orchestra’s best interest to show your elected officials – at all levels – the kinds of programs you offer and the variety of partners with whom you work. In turn, you should keep up with what elected officials are doing via social media and their e-newsletters. When you are doing something particularly interesting, take a few moments to notify them in a variety of ways – phone calls, social media, brochures, etc. Not sure how to contact your Representative and Senators? Just enter your zip code here, and click on the hyperlinked name of an official to find a profile page containing full contact information including social media, as well as committee assignments. Feel welcome to contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have questions about which committees are related to key issues for the arts.

Below are the dates members of Congress are expected to be home, along with key advocacy opportunities and some suggested actions you can take. Dates in red represent longer periods of time when elected officials may be available to meet with you at home. Many people will be competing for your officials’ time, so remember to plan early! Well before your legislator goes home for a recess, contact his or her district office to schedule a meeting or extend an invitation to a performance or event.

For more ideas on how to involve policymakers in an orchestra event, and to review the congressional gift rules, visit
http://americanorchestras.org/advocacy-government/making-the-case-advocacy-resources.html.


2017 Calendar of Opportunities: 115th Congress, 1st Session*

*Dates in red represent longer periods of time when elected officials may be available to meet with you at home

Winter                          

Spring                      

Summer                        

Fall                        

April

House likely to be home:

3/31-4/2
4/7-4/24
4/29-4/30

Senate likely to be home:

4/8-4/23
4/29-4/30

Suggested action:

Congress is on recess for two weeks – the first major break of the session. This is an ideal time to meet with your members as they will be at home, but remember to contact them in advance to get on their schedules. Invite officials to visit your office and check out any education or community programming behind the scenes, or go to their district office to sit down and chat. Let them know what you’re up to, and ask what they could use from you to help do their jobs in Washington.

May


House likely to be home:

5/5-5/15
5/26-6/5
Weekends, for states near D.C.

Senate likely to be home:

5/26-6/4
Weekends, for states near D.C.

Suggested action:

Memorial Day events at home are an ideal time to show officials how orchestras are part of local celebrations and observances. Again, remember to plan ahead, and consider inviting officials to speak at special concerts you may be holding.

June

 

House likely to be home:

5/26-6/5
6/17-6/19

Weekends, for states near D.C.

Senate likely to be home:

5/26-6/4
Weekends, for states near D.C.

Suggested action:

The League of American Orchestras’ National Conference takes place June 6-8 in Detroit. Join us, and let people know you’re attending, what you’re learning, and how your orchestra is part of a large field dedicated to enriching communities through the power of music!

July

 

House likely to be home:

7/1-7/10
7/21-7/23

7/29-9/4
Weekends, for states near D.C.

Senate likely to be home:

7/1-7/9
7/29-9/3
Weekends, for states near D.C.

Suggested action:

Nearly every orchestra presents a 4th of July concert. Your elected officials will be looking for opportunities to be part of civic celebrations – make sure they know well in advance, so they can join yours. Again, patriotic concerts are an ideal opportunity to provide a brief speaking opportunity to welcome the audience and kick off your local celebration of our nation’s independence.

August

 

House home entire month of
August

Senate home entire month of August

Suggested action:

This – the traditional August recess -- is the longest stretch of time during which Congress goes home. Plan ahead so you can be part of your officials’ summer plans. If you don’t have any programming to show them, collect your best stories from the year to date, and ask to meet your officials in their office so you can have a catch-up chat to learn how each other’s year is going and where your interests and activities may line up.

September

 

House likely to be home:

7/29-9/4
9/15-9/24
9/29-10-1

Weekends, for states near D.C.

Senate likely to be home:

7/29-9/3
9/21-9/24

Weekends, for states near D.C.

Suggested action:

National Arts in Education Week takes place 9/10-9/16. Queue up testimonials, photos, and video demonstrating how your orchestra supports in-school music education – share these with your patrons, friends, and most definitely your elected officials. If you are doing anything at a school on 9/15, this could be a great time to invite your U.S. Representative to come and see your orchestra in action.

October

 

House likely to be home:

9/29-10-1
10/6-10/9
10/14-10/22
10/27-10/30

Weekends, for states near D.C.

Senate likely to be home:

10/7-10/15
Weekends, for states near D.C.

Suggested action:

October is National Arts and Humanities Month. If you partner with any humanities/literacy organizations, this is a great time of year to showcase your joint efforts and offer support to those partners. The best advocates are third party – do your fellow nonprofits a favor and use your platform to celebrate them, thanking them for the work they do and for being great partners!

November

 

House likely to be home:

11/10-11/12
11/17-11/27
Weekends, for states near D.C.

Senate likely to be home:

11/10-11/12
11/18-11/26
Weekends, for states near D.C.

Suggested action:

Are you helping to honor local veterans for Veteran’s Day on the 10th? Do you have anyone in your orchestra family – on stage, behind stage, or in the administration – who has served in the military? This is an excellent time to thank them for their service, past or present. If you are involved in any arts and military efforts, let your community know, and invite your elected officials to learn about them firsthand.

December

 

House likely to be home:

12/2-12/4
12/15-12/31
Weekends, for states near D.C.

Senate likely to be home:

12/16-12/31
Weekends, for states near D.C.

Suggested action:

Don’t forget to include your elected officials in any holiday cards you may be sending. Thank them for their year of government service, and thank any who have supported the arts or let them know how you hope for increased support in the future. If you’re planning a festive concert or participating in a community-wide celebration, make sure your officials are invited, and if appropriate, find a speaking role for them.


Congratulations on a full year of advocacy!

* All House and Senate recess dates are subject to change. (Created December 15, 2016)