Guide for Meeting with Your Legislators
Meetings are one of the most effective forms of advocacy. Emails, letters, and calls can be influential, but
meetings allow you to explain your opinion as well as answer any questions the legislator or staffer has. The
time and energy you put into a meeting show how important the issue is to you and the community.
How to Schedule and Prepare for a Meeting
1. Contact the district office of your legislator. (You can look up your legislators’ at www.arts4illinois.org).
2. Identify yourself as a constituent and state the purpose of your call: to schedule a 20-minute meeting
with your legislator and/or a staffer to discuss the state budget—specifically the impact of budget cuts
on the arts and your community.
3. Before your meeting, research your legislator. What issues does she care about? What committees does
she serve on? What cultural organizations is she connected to?
4. Make an outline of your key points. The Arts Alliance can provide the play-by-play with research and
statistics, but it’s up to you to offer the color commentary. Be prepared to share your story of how the
arts have had an impact on the community.
5. Contact Scarlett Swerdlow at email@example.com or 312.855.3105 x13 to review your game plan.
We can also provide support materials such as a map of the creative enterprises in your district.
Things to Remember
• Arrive early. Legislators’ schedules are tight, and unavoidable delays are common. Don’t be upset if
you meet with a staffer or aide instead—they’re often the ones who do the serious follow-up anyway.
• Ask under what circumstances your legislator would support new revenue.
• Be firm in discussing the issue with your legislators, but always be courteous.
• You’re not required to be an expert. If you don’t have all the answers, say so—and offer to find out.
This gives you an opportunity to follow-up and serve as a resource.
• Write a thank-you note, whether or not you saw eye-to-eye.
• Report back to Scarlett Swerdlow at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312.855.3105 x13. It’s important for
us to know what’s happening on the ground so we can tailor our advocacy efforts accordingly. We’re
especially interested in knowing under what circumstances your legislator would support new revenue.
203 North Wabash Suite 1920 Chicago, IL 60601 tel 312.855.3105 fax 312.855.1565 www.artsalliance.org