December 20, 2016

6 Tips to Get Your Friends Involved in Your Preservation Project

Toolkit Involving Your Friends A Group at a Project Site

photo by: Ted Eytan/Flickr/CC BY SA 2.0

A support system that offers advice, perspective, and expertise is invaluable for any preservation project.

Whether you’re a career preservationist or the only one in your friend group that knows what historic preservation is, when others you care about become involved in your project, it makes the whole thing even more worthwhile. Especially if the task is a monumental one, having a good support system to lean on can have an intangible, but important impact on your success. And, added bonus: You can spread the preservation love to a new audience.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few ways to involve your friends in your next preservation project from start to finish.

1. Tell them what you’re doing.

Explain to your friends why you are embarking on your preservation project. Is rehabilitating the old barn in your backyard something you’ve always wanted to do? Is starting a historic foundation the way you want to give back to your community? Don’t forget to explain why your work is important to you. If your friends understand that, they might make it a priority too.

2. Share your inspiration.

Do you have a specific project, news article, or book that sparked your interest in preservation? Share it with your friends. Showing them what inspired you to begin your project could, in turn, motivate them to provide support in any way they can. They may even start thinking about a project of their own.

3. Use social media to share your progress (and excitement).

Consider keeping a Twitter feed where you can let your friends know what you’re up to. Instagram is a great tool for showing before-and-after photos as your project progresses. Platforms that allow you to broadcast in real time, like Periscope or Facebook Live, are great ways to show your friends what stage your project is in, how you’re currently feeling, and anything else you want to say.

Also, a personal blog is a great way to not only keep a record of your project, but also to give others insight into your planning processes and implementation. There’s a good chance that reading about how excited you are with your project will get them in the spirit too—and who knows, they may volunteer to help you out.

Toolkit Involving Your Friends Giving a Tour at a Project Site

photo by: Jeff Warren/Flickr/CC BY SA 2.0

Inviting your friends to see the result of your hard work is a great way to inspire them to become involved in your next venture.

4. Give them a tour of your project site.

Sometimes, people need to see it to believe it. Show your friends the progress you’ve made or anything you’ve uncovered that fascinates you. Being able to see in real life what you’re so excited about will likely inspire their curiosity and excitement too.

5. Show them how easy it is to get involved.

Preservation projects benefit from a variety of different perspectives and technical skills, so even if your friends have little experience, they can easily make a contribution. After you’ve invited them to tour the building you’re rehabbing, for example, have them over again to help clear debris, paint walls, or to simply provide a different viewpoint than your own. They’ll soon realize they can help out regardless of their preservation expertise. Just having friends spread the word about your project can also be useful. They may know people who can help you or who can support your project long-term.

6. Have a party.

A party is a great way to christen that rehabilitated barn or kick-start the historic foundation you founded while giving thanks to the friends who supported you. Extend the invitation beyond those who helped you directly—celebrating your finished work is a great way to inspire others to consider how they can become involved in preservation and make a difference.

Meghan White is a historic preservationist and an editorial assistant for Preservation magazine. She has a penchant for historic stables, absorbing stories of the past, and one day rehabilitating a Charleston single house.

mwhite@savingplaces.org

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