Advocating for Preservation

Posted on: February 24th, 2011 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

Written by Priya Chhaya

Preservation stands to face some strong financial hurdles in the coming year—and it is not just limited to the losses connected to Save America’s Treasures and Preserve America. That being said, there was some positive news in the President’s FY2012 budget,  and it is important for us to continue to present our case for preservation before lawmakers—to remind them that preservation is about more than just the past—it’s about the economy, jobs, and community.

On February 8, Forum hosted the first of two live chat’s leading up to Advocacy day on March 7-8. While you can read the full transcript for free, here are some quick answers to some basic advocacy questions, and don’t forget to join us for the second chat in the series on March 1 at 2pm ET. (You can register to get a reminder for next Tuesday's chat at that same link.)

What is Advocacy Day?

Advocacy day is a gathering of preservationists from around the country to advocate for legislation favorable to historic preservation. On this day, preservationists meet with legislators or their staff face to face, and includes a coalition of individuals associated with Preservation Action, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions, the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers and more. This year’s Advocacy Day will take place on March 7-8.

What If I can’t come to Washington? Can I still advocate for preservation?

Yes! A lot of advocacy happens at home—with local and state governments as well as by making appointments and calls with members/staff at their in district offices. We highly recommend developing relationships with these offices by inviting them to events associated with preservation prior to Advocacy day.

If someone wants to attend Advocacy Day, what type of research or prep work should be done in advance?

In preparation for Advocacy Day it is important to do the research on your member of Congress and what their districts historic resources might be—and as was emphasized in the live chat, make sure to identify the new members of Congress, as some will require more basic information about preservation as well. In addition to knowing what the talking points are for the year, you also want to talk to your State Historic Preservation Office and be up to speed on major job creation programs (tax credit projects), National Register properties and grants that may have been awarded to the district/state

You can find additional information about these issues on the  Preservation Action or NCSHPO websites.  For a more detailed resource on how to approach your meeting check out Blueprint for Lobbying by Susan West Montgomery and  this handy resource on how to communicate with elected officials.

Check out the transcript for the chat for answers to more questions including: Would you approach a Republican differently than a Democrat? Do you recommend partnering with other state representatives when visiting offices? What follow up do you recommend following Advocacy day?

Are you planning on participating in Advocacy Day this year (either in Washington or through in-district meetings/phone calls)?  For more resources, or to register, visit Preservation Action or PreservationNation.

Priya Chhaya is a program associate in the Center for Preservation Leadership at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She can be found on Twitter @PC_PresNation.

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National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

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