Humanities Advocacy Day
For First Time Advocates
In the lead up to Humanities Advocacy Day, we provide specific training for first time advocates, which offers an overview of what we are advocating for and how to conduct a successful Hill meeting.
In addition, we always pair new advocates with seasoned advocates to support you as you prepare for and take Hill meetings.
Top Tips for Nervous Advocates
What does a meeting look like?
Hill meetings are most successful when treated like conversations. Often you will meet with a Member of Congress’ staffer, though you may also get a chance to speak with the Members themselves. The documents below can help you prepare for your meetings. Most are updated on a yearly basis.
The Advocacy Guide offers an overview of how to prepare for, conduct, and follow up after meetings on the Hill. It also offers a brief overview of each of our funding priorities.
Our sample scripts give a general sense of how Hill meetings progress, some of the arguments you might make on behalf of humanities funding, and how to pivot to an "ask." Don't feel the need to stick to these scripts—the best Hill meetings generally involve organic conversation.
What are we advocating for?
We ask our advocates to discuss federal funding for several key humanities agencies and programs. You can find more information about each of these priorities below. While our priorities stay the same from year to year, our funding asks change with each fiscal year. These documents are updated on a yearly basis to reflect those changes.
Our Humanities Policy Priority booklet offers detailed information about our funding priorities. It is also intended as a handout for congressional offices.
Our Member Profiles offer detailed information about many Members of Congress—biographical information, relevant committees and caucuses, indicators of past support, and talking points—related to the policy priorities detailed above. If you do not see your Member included, please contact Alex Klein ([email protected]) for more information.
How do I make the case?
One of the keys to a successful meeting is learning ahead of time about the impact of federal funding for the humanities in your state and congressional district. Below you will find tools to help you prepare.
We’ve developed NEHforAll.org to aggregate information on NEH’s national impacts, the geographic reach of NEH programs and initiatives, and individual profiles that highlight how NEH funding affects local communities.
We have developed an NEH for All Brochure that highlights four crucial impacts the NEH has on our educational and cultural landscapes: supporting K–12 education, providing humanities access, preserving our cultural heritage, and strengthening communities.
The databases of NEH and Title VI grants, meanwhile, will help you bolster your argument with examples from your district.
Following Up After The Meeting
Post on Social Media
After the meeting, post on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram tagging the Member and thanking them for taking the time to meet with you. If possible, ask to take a picture with the Member or staffer you met with to post as well.
Follow up Email
After the meeting, we encourage advocates to follow up with the staffers to thank them and to reiterate the requests you’ve made. There is no need to follow these templates exactly. They are meant only as an example of the range of topics you may want to cover in your follow up.
We also ask that one advocate from each state group fill out a post-visit worksheet for each of the group's meetings. This helps us determine who we might approach as new champions for our policy priorities and who we might need to follow up with.
Appropriations request form
Offices will often ask you to complete an appropriator request form. We’ve developed tips for filling those out and are also happy to help.