Advocacy Resources

The Alliance offers several resources for building your advocacy skills, learning about Congress, making your case and getting involved in advocacy for your museum. 

Why Advocate 

Advocacy for Museums Matters

There is no need to wonder just how important it is to engage in advocacy for museums. This is a comprehensive primer on what advocacy entails and why it matters.

Advocacy - Why should I care? I'm not a CEO!

You might think your museum job has nothing to do with advocacy or public policy. Nothing could be further from the truth! See some of the federal, state and local issues that impact museum professionals in this piece developed by Kate Schureman at the Peoria Riverfront Museum and Brenda Raney at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Why Should I Advocate for My Museum?

This brief Museum article includes key questions and answers about getting involved in advocacy for your museum.

Tools to Advocate

75 Advocacy Ideas in 75 Minutes

What was the last thing you advocated for—what movie to see this weekend, or which restaurant to go for dinner, or the destination for your next vacation? We are often advocating without even realizing it. Use our 75 ideas to get started advocating for your museum.

Alliance Advocacy Alerts

Nothing has a more powerful impact on members of Congress than hearing directly from their constituents. We’ll let you know about breaking news and key moments in the policy process so you can weigh-in with your elected officials. 

Advocate from Anywhere

Help make the case for museums to your legislators, locally. We’ve made it easy to get involved with our step by step guide.

Communicating with Legislators

Legislators have incredibly hectic schedules, but legislators and their staff want to hear from constituents like you. Being prepared to accommodate their demanding schedules can help you make your case.

Contact Congress

Throughout the year there are several legislative issues affecting museums. The Alliance has several templates to make communicating with your legislators easy. Personalize and send letters to your legislators today.

Economic Impact Statement

This brief form allows you to easily capture for legislators the vast reach of your museum in your community. Personalize with your logo and share with your community today.

Educational Impact Statement

This brief form allows you to provide a snapshot for your legislators of the educational impact of your museum. Make sure your legislators know all you do to educate your community.

Economic and Educational Impact Statement Samples

Now more than ever, legislators and funders need to know just how your museum impacts your community. Let your legislators know that museums are critical partners in education and local economic drivers. Our templates are easy to personalize. See several samples developed across the field.

Getting to Know Your Legislators

Taking the time to learn about your legislators is an invaluable asset to advocacy efforts at any level of government. Learning about your legislators can help set you apart from the others competing for your legislators' time and attention.

Glossary of Legislative Terms

Understanding the process is an important part of effective advocacy. Use our guide to get a quick handle on key phrases and procedural terms used in Congress.

Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum

State and district work periods throughout the year are an ideal time to connect with your legislators at your museum. The Alliance makes it easy with this step-by-step "How To" guide. See highlights from 2013 visits.

Issue Briefs

The Alliance closely tracks several legislative and policy issues affecting museums—including funding for grant-making federal agencies, tax incentives for charitable giving and education policy. See our individual Issue Briefs (PDFs) for more information.

Legislator Look-Up

Enter your address to find your federal and state legislators and their office and contact information.

Legislative Record for 2013

Use this just-updated members-only resource to see how your elected officials are doing on key public policy issues affecting museums. Please login to access these records and find out if your legislators are standing up for museums.

Legislative Record for 2011 and 2012

Find additional information about how elected officials are doing on key public policy issues. Please login to access these records for 2011-2012.

Legislative Update: How Museums are Faring 

On Aug. 5 Alliance Government Relations & Advocacy staff, joined by Alexandra Coon of the Massillon Museum, provided a practical walk-through of the latest legislative issues affecting museums. We discussed the Alliance’s field-wide legislative agenda, highlighted key opportunities to demonstrate the public value of museums and provided a non-partisan preview of the 2014 mid-term elections.

Missed the program? Check out the slides (PDF).

Meeting with Elected Officials

Meeting with elected officials doesn't have to be intimidating. Get our best tips for making sure your meetings with any elected official go as smoothly as possible.

Museums Advocacy Day 2014

Museums Advocacy Day is the perfect opportunity to make a unified case to Congress in support of museums. The Alliance makes it easy by providing comprehensive policy briefings and scheduling your meetings on Capitol Hill. Alliance members register for free and the entire museum field is encouraged to participate.

Museums Do That

At AAM, we hear stories about museums changing lives everyday. We produced a new video conveying just two of these compelling stories, first shared at Museums Advocacy Day 2014. They exemplify the often misunderstood, and under-appreciated, value of museums. Please use this tool in your advocacy and fundraising efforts, or even link to it from your website.

Let us know how you use it or if you have your own video about a great museum story, please share it with us!

Museum Facts

Many members of Congress are not fully aware of all that museums do in the communities they serve. Start your conversations with these simple, powerful facts about museums.   

Online Advocacy Programs

Want to learn how to be a good advocate for your museum, but don't have a lot of time? Check out our online advocacy programs and learn more about advocacy for museums.

Post-Election Town Hall

Alliance president Ford W. Bell and senior director of government relations and advocacy Gail Ravnitzky Silberglied shared their analysis of the 2012 election results and what they mean for the field in our first Town Hall on Nov. 16. Watch the complete one-hour presentation and answers to participant questions.

Protect Giving Resources

Working with the Charitable Giving Coalition, the Alliance provides museums these template materials (several in Microsoft Word) that can be personalized to reflect the impact of charitable giving at your museum and help ensure that legislators and the media understand this important issue.

Speak Up For Museums: The AAM Guide to Advocacy

Advocacy-the act of communicating how essential museums are to our communities and to society at large-can be as simple as chatting with a visitor or welcoming a school group. But it also involves making your case to elected officials.

Speak Up For Museums
is full of smart, practical advice on how to be an effective advocate, making it essential reading for everyone from paid and volunteer staff to your board of trustees.

Ten Rules for Engagement

Getting involved in advocacy can be fun and easy. See our top ten list of tips for engaging in effective advocacy.

Why Advocacy Should Be a Best Practice of Museums

Full of practical advocacy strategies and powerful examples of advocacy in action, this piece by Karen Ackerman Witter for the Illinois Heritage Association is an excellent guide for making the case for museums.

Year-Round Advocacy

Engage legislators and other stakeholders in the work of your museum, every day of the year, wherever you are located.

Your Secret Advocacy Weapon: Your Board

This excerpt from “Speak Up For Museums: The AAM Guide to Advocacy” includes the nine reasons why your board is such an advocacy asset, and insider advice from a local elected official and fellow museum colleague.

Can I Advocate?

Museum Advocacy in an Election Year (or any year!)

These days, every year feels like an election year. Museums and nonprofits can participate in advocacy and advocate on behalf of their mission. Learn what is and is not allowed in our election year advocacy guide.

Nonprofit Voter Resources

The Alliance shares a selection of resources available for nonprofit museums, organizations and their staffs, many provided by Nonprofit Vote. Find easy-to-use, detailed information about what you and your staff can and cannot do.