Sean Ulmer, Executive Director of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, has written a compelling piece "Why Museums Matter". 

Take a Minute for Advocacy Each Month

January - Jot a note to your elected officials, members, donors, and friends.  Share your calendar year-end attendance and thank them for their support over the last 12 months.  Prepare for the coming year with a visitor count system, guest register, and guest comment box.

February - Attend an advocacy-related meeting at any level - community, county, state or national.  Remind elected officials of the work your museum does as a community resource and economic asset.

March - Finalize your annual programming and share the schedule with your elected officials, members, friends, and donors.  Remind them of the many ways your museum impacts the community, county and state.

April - April is National Volunteer Month.  Let your elected officials, members, donors, and friends know how important volunteers are for your museum.  Share information about the number of volunteers who assist at your museum and the hours they donated during the last year.  Introduce new volunteers and how they will help in the upcoming season.

May - Send an invitation to your elected officials and their staff inviting them to participate in your museum's seasonal festivities.

June - Participate in Iowa Museum Week the second week of June (Monday through Sunday) each year!  Showcase your museum and raise awareness about all of Iowa's museums.

July - Send a card to your elected officials and let them know how attendance is going for the year.  Thank them for their support.

August - Transcribe the comments that have been left at your museum by visitors this season and use them to help show how your museums has made an impact on the visitor from an educational standpoint.

September - Focus on something unique your museum did this year and write an opinion piece for your local newspaper.  Send a copy to your elected officials.  Use this month's board meeting to talk about your museum's advocacy plan and the board's role in serving as advocates for your museum.

October - Attend the Iowa Museum Association Annual Meeting and Conference.  Reconnect with museum workers and volunteers from all over the state - share new, recharge your batteries, and attend sessions that will energize you for the coming year.

November - Before the local elections and the start of the legislative session, introduce yourself and your museum to candidates and elected officials.  Prepare your elected partners for the annual planning and budget work they will do that will affect your museum by making your organization known to them.

December - Plan a special holiday event at your museum for elected officials to thank them for the support and interest they have shown to the cultural community in your area.  Prepare your museum's economic impact statement for use during the upcoming advocacy session.  Log into the Iowa Museum Association's website (members only area) and fill out the economic data survey to assist in the IMA's statewide advocacy efforts on behalf of Iowa's museums.