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Focus on Your Value!

April 27, 2020

By Kuri Gill, Oregon Heritage Outreach & Grants Coordinator

Today, we would have been headed home for the Oregon Heritage Conference: Harness the Power of Heritage. We would have met amazing people, been inspired by keynote speakers and excellence award winners, learned best practices, collected tips and maybe a bit of swag, and had a stack of notes. Typically, we leave a conference with all of this great information and we wonder where to begin.

Today in the face of uncertainty, you might also feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin.

Harness the Power of Heritage was our theme for a reason. When used responsibly, heritage can provide perspective about a situation, it can include untold stories, it can support frazzled parents and teachers, it can comfort, it can document the real story, it can reflect, it can honor, it can develop a special sense of place, and it can anchor and connect a community.

Three months ago, your mission, your power, was to do this important heritage work for Oregon’s communities. Today, this power is needed more than ever. It will be needed as we transition to a new way of living. It will be needed when we are past this entirely and looking back at it. Even in the face of essential, social, economic needs, your services are needed. This is where to begin and end. As you make your decisions about caring for your staff and volunteers, engaging your stakeholders, managing your resources, providing services, and reopening your doors, keep your value and mission in mind.

Once you internalize that…it is time to tell others!

Make sure you share your value with all of your stakeholders. Stay in the forefront of the minds of elected officials, donors, members, volunteers, tourism organizations, sponsors, and foundations. Here are two tools to help you develop your messages.

  1. Value of Heritage toolkit Look for value information and a story building process here!
  2. Value of History Statement, which is a national effort to provide a common language to help history organizations describe the value and relevance of their work. The Oregon Heritage Commission recently endorsed this statement.

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