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Collections Advocacy Toolkit

Advocacy refers to a broad range of activities aimed at getting the attention of public officials and influencing how they shape public policies that affect small and large organizations. Busy officials and their staff need to know what you do, what you contribute, and what support you need to achieve your long term preservation goals—and they also need to know what’s at stake.

Advocacy requires action by you, your staff, and constituents. Only you can showcase your institution and make the case to potential supporters for the resources you need. You are the best advocate for your organization.

The advocacy process includes conversation, phone calls, letters, active engagement, testimonials, demonstration of program results, participation in regional and national events, tracking of relevant legislative action, and mobilization of allies, members, partners, and supporters. An advocacy plan includes public acknowledgement and thanks for the support you do receive, with periodic follow-ups about your continuing efforts and successes.

You have the right as well as the responsibility to speak up and make known the significant asset you represent. The eight parts of the Collections Advocacy Toolkit guide you through the basic steps of an advocacy plan.

  1. Understanding the Technical Aspects of Collections Care
  2. Twenty Questions: A Self-Assessment Game
  3. Articulating Key Messages
  4. Communicating with Elected Officials
  5. Social Media Primer
  6. Crowdfunding for Conservation
  7. Repeating Your Message and Following Up
  8. Additional Resources

The Collections Advocacy Toolkit was developed for Save Pennsylvania's Past, a statewide effort to preserve the millions of objects and historic artifacts that shape the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's history and define our nation. The initiative was supported by an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Connecting to Collections Statewide Implementation Grant, by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and by the Arthur Ross Foundation, Inc.