Advocacy, a little word that sometimes has a big, scary, but effective meaning

Do you believe that your historical society has stories that you can tell? Do you host a historical home filled with mementos of a bygone era that you can show others? How many times have you shared with others the unique and interesting items your organization is preserving? Then you are an Advocate!

Advocate: a vocal supporter of any cause; to recommend. Advocacy: pleading for, promoting for, supporting. If you believe in and support your local history organization, don’t be afraid to tell everyone, anyone about what local history is all about, what it means to you personally, that it is important for your community to support their local history.

How do I advocate, is there training available? Your group needs funds and you are not quite sure just where to start. Begin by talking to your friends, people that you know on a one-to-one basis.

Then step ‘outside your history box’. Begin networking with other community minded people that have memberships in other organizations. Identify someone in your group that has a relationship with another community leader, a granting agency, a city council person, a county commissioner.

Communicate! Talk to the media. If they don’t know about your group, they can’t help to tell your story. Contact civic and service organizations making an offer to present a program at one of their meetings. Meet with school officials to discuss ideas about how the historical society can assist teachers and librarians with ‘local history’. Example – create and take ‘history in a suitcase’ into the classrooms.

All this won’t happen overnight. Every member has at least one talent that can be used somewhere in the process. So, get started and Advocate for History because History Means Something!

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