- Dec 3, 2013View Source
Advocating for museums is critical to a thriving museum community. But, before you tell me “I’m too small to matter” or “they have too many other concerns to make time for us”- consider a direct benefit to being a museum advocate:
1You make the case for your impact on the community. Your institution has a direct impact on the constituents of your elected officials- they will care about you! Get their attention with quick bullet points of number of the teachers and students served, how many staff, members and volunteers you have, any capital projects that hired outside help, any special projects that served a community need (literacy, food, clothing, etc) or just a list of your recent accomplishments. How do you impact your community? Your institution fosters cultural awareness in your community and THAT HAS VALUE! See IAM’s Economic Impact Statement for more ideas.
The # 1 advocacy pitfall: Waiting until you have a serious problem before meeting with your representatives or elected officials.
Extending your hand for help during crisis mode is NOT the best time to ask elected officials for support. If a crisis does occur, it would be far better to have built a relationship and informed them of your impact on the community. That way, you have a supporter who understands what effect your museum has on their constituents. Making your case to dodge the iceberg is easier if the boat is not already sinking…
WHAT TO DO TODAY: Your state representatives are home now! Call up the local office and invite them to your next event. If you can, acknowledge them publicly at the event or take pictures to post on social media to thank them for coming. Don’t forget your local officials too!