Advocacy for Historical Organizations

What is advocacy?

Advocacy is the process of bringing about change that will result in public policies and laws that better your organization.

Although advocacy can seem overwhelming, history organizations must speak up for themselves to assist elected public officials in creating changes to increase funding for their organization.  When organizations effectively advocate, elected officials understand the important role history organizations and museums play to the voters that they represent.  By encouraging officials to go beyond one visit with the organization a year, it is likely that officials will support the organizations as an essential part of the community.

Elected officials should know the educational enrichment your organization provides to the community, the importance of the cultural heritage your museum preserves, and understand the negative impact on your community if your organization ceases to exist.  By informing elected officials on the public services your organization provides, they will be more likely to support policy change to help your organization grow.

What you can do:

Many resources exist to assist history organizations and museums as they begin and continue to advocate at the local, state, and federal level.

American Alliance of Museums:
AAM provides resources to help your organization begin advocating.  In addition to providing ideas for tools to advocate, AAM also head the Museum Advocacy Day every February to bring awareness to the need for public policy support of museums.

American Association for State and Local History:
AASLH has created resources to learn how to effectively advocate and lobby with elected officials.  AASLH also participates in Museum Advocacy Day.

Ohio History Connection:
OHS identifies current legislative priorities and hosts Statehood Day to promote the importance of Ohio history.

Small Museum Association:
In addition to providing links to other advocacy resources, the Small Museum Association has created a webpage to introduce new advocates to the basics of government lobbying and advocacy.

Association of Midwest Museums:
This organization has created a document to help local history organizations generate ideas on affordable advocacy practices.



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