Victorian-valentines-cards-two-cherubs-red-heartsWho keeps public officials effectively informed of your museum’s value and activities? Is it a board member?  A staff person? A volunteer?

Whoever it is, send them a Valentine today, and thank them for spreading the word about your museum’s good work.

If you’re thinking, “Hmm…I’m not sure who I should thank because no one is really out there as our advocate,” then you might want to check out this piece by Gail Ravnitzky Silberglied from the American Association of Museums.

Advocacy Day is coming up at the end of February. “But wait,” you may ask, “isn’t all this advocacy stuff for the benefit of large museums?”  While working on the national stage may not be right for you or your organization, Gail’s article suggests many other ways to make connections at various levels that are just as effective. And what better time is there to do it than now?

(To digress a moment, I don’t know why anyone picked February as the month for museum representatives to head to Washington, D.C. and speak up. Perhaps Advocacy Day’s organizers were inspired by Black History Month. After all, one of the civil rights movement’s greatest lessons was in showing the power of strategic, grassroots political efforts. Whatever the reason, I applaud those who invest the time and money to plead our case on the national level. And now, back to my point about Gail’s article….)

In “Your Secret Weapon“, Gail provides nine good reasons why board members make good advocates. (You could also use these reasons to boost the morale of board members and remind them of their role in the organization.) With just a little direction and a pat on the back, you may unleash a board member’s or volunteer’s hidden talents as an advocate.

Gail also reminds us of the value of diversity on a board – not just in age, race or gender, but in political affiliation and community connections, as well.

If you haven’t found a museum advocate, this may be the time to recruit someone who can share your story with elected officials at the city, county, state or national level.

But there’s no need to wait for Valentine’s Day. You can give your museum’s advocate a special thank-you any day of the year.

Gail reminds us: “Building relationships is key to everything your museum does.”

Where does this topic fall on your museum’s priority list? How can you place it higher on that list?