This is grassroots lobbying in its purest form. Over many years, orchestras have from time to time gone to their audiences to seek support on important issues: a local tax earmarked for arts support, calls or letters to members of Congress to support the National Endowment for the Arts, and other issues. Patrons may be asked to:
- Respond to action alerts to be sent by the orchestra calling on them to write their own letters and social media messages, or to make calls to legislators.
- Attend a special public event on the issue, or be asked to attend the legislator’s next “town meeting” and raise the issue in person.
- Participate in a Twitter town hall urging action.
Flyers on the seats, messages in the program books, brief remarks from the podium by the board president or conductor, signs in the lobby, and letters to your subscribers constitute the main ways you might involve your audiences.
Remember to check your facts and test your pitch before you publish anything or speak to the audience. Try it out on your peers to see if it’s clear and would be well received by your audience. Always remember to keep your messages completely non-partisan in both content and tone.