6 STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL ADVOCACY
Take a team approach to advocacy. If possible, get your entire department on board. Be an advocate for your program; NOT an activist. No administration will fault you for being an advocate; however, no administration will tolerate you be an activist.
Setting the Objective
Be an educator in regards to your advocacy. Advocacy is teaching someone about an issue important to you! Develop objectives using data whenever possible
Getting the Facts
Advocacy depends on a strong analysis of the situation. What are the facts on both sides of the issue? Support your analysis with research with the best information available. If you hit a roadblock, reach out to your local collegiate program for assistance.
Who are you Influencing?
Determine who has the authority to make decisions. Develop a position statement that is tailored to who the decision-makers are. The Virginia Coalition for Fine Arts Education has actual position statements on a wide variety of topics that you can use.
What Can You Influence?
Understand the context and constraints on the decision-maker. If this is a budget matter, where do YOU propose the funds should come from? Understand timing has implications on getting things done. Poor timing can doom advocacy efforts. Understand that your timeline may not be theirs.
Set up a meeting with the decision makers. Build relationships and meet face to face whenever possible. Present your case as “Wanting to be part of the solution, not part of the problem”.
Working together is likely to achieve the best results. Parents are your best advocates for your program. Solicit input and support from your parents and/or parent groups.
METHODS OF ADVOCACY
No matter the issue be sure the message and objectives are clear and concise. State the issue and have a solution that is practical in nature. If fact have several solutions. Present your ideal solution first and if that is dismissed out of hand, have a fall back solution. One that provides for compromise.
Make the issue is about service to students, put your interests last. You interests are best served when students and their music education are the priority. Don’t make the message about you and your job, make it about the students and the program. You and your job will follow.
Develop a compelling case using data whenever possible
Make sure the message is clear, understandable and provides a solution to the issue at hand
Invite the decision makers to read or present at a concert or performance. Write letters, make phone calls, present your case during public comments.
Seek ongoing dialogue