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What It Means to Be an AIA Advocate

By Amanda Stratton, Manager, Grassroots & Advocacy Outreach

Merriam-Webster defines an advocate as ‘one that defends or maintains a cause or proposal.’ This broad definition encompasses many types of advocacy: legal advocacy, health advocacy, grassroots advocacy, and so much more. With the term being used to describe many different types of actions these days, what does it mean to be an advocate for the AIA?

AIA Advocacy focuses on the interactions with federal, state, and local legislatures and governing bodies, including agencies. Plainly speaking, the responsibility of an AIA member advocate is to represent the profession’s interests before their representatives. There are many competing interests out there, and elected officials not only hear from these interest groups, but also from constituents who are members of these groups. AIA members need to do their part for their profession and their community. That is why it is important to contact your legislators and their staff on a regular basis. Doing so will make sure that legislators keep issues important to architects in the forefront of their minds when making policy decisions.

There are many ways to make your voice heard. The easiest way to start is by making sure you participate in all action alerts. The AIA makes it easy for you to do this by writing a letter that you can send to your legislators in two easy steps. All you need to do is enter your email address and zip code to load your legislators, then click send! The whole process takes just a few minutes – less time than it takes to boil a pot of water!

Although sending emails to your members of Congress is an important part of being an advocate, it is just the first step. The most important part of being an AIA advocate is building relationships with your members of Congress and their staff, your state and local legislators, and other advocates in your community. This is what our Advocacy365 program is all about.

AIA Advocacy has developed tools and best practices to help you take those additional steps to building relationships. Throughout this month, we are going to outline ways that you can participate and become a more engaged advocate. Advocacy isn’t just done through email or while you are at our Grassroots conference – stay tuned and we will show you how you can do more to ensure your voice is heard.

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This content is published by the AIA Government and Community Relations Department, 1735 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20006. To contact the AIA’s Government & Community Relations team, send an email to


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