Meeting candidates

                 Museums and the election - Meeting candidates
                       Writing to candidates - Doorstep canvassing
Marginal constituencies - What not to do - After the election
                                                        Finding out more
You want your future MP to support your museum by raising awareness of your achievements in the House of Commons and your local council, as well as lobbying potential supporters on your behalf.

Although the majority of PPCs will not be elected, they are still worth cultivating. As influential members of local political parties, councillors or future councillors, they will become allies of your museum in times of difficulty or when you want to gain support for a new area of work.

PPCs are often well networked and may help you gain knowledge of, and access to, influential decision-makers.

The best incentive for a candidate to attend a meeting is the chance to meet potential voters and achieve exposure in the media.

Opportunities include:

· A formal meeting at which candidates can speak (see advice on election meetings)

· A social event where candidates can network and meet others

· An exhibition opening, special event or visit to an education session that would attract media coverage

· An invitation for candidates to meet your governing body and staff. It is advisable to arrange this as a short daytime event if candidates are to meet a limited number of people

Care should be taken in this period to ensure that PPCs are provided with the same access to information and opportunities, and that communication is impartial.

Making the most of your meeting

In order to take full advantage of the opportunity, it is necessary to plan the meeting carefully and clearly identify what you want to achieve:

· The candidate should form a clear picture of your museum – its work, audience, supporters and prominent allies. Emphasise the number of people you employ, ensuring you acknowledge the support of volunteers and friends

· The candidate should explain their background and their understanding of cultural policy issues, museums and your own museum (before you meet, check if they are already a friend or member of your museum)

· The candidate should understand how your work is affected by the wider context: local and national funding, national policies for museums, education policies and initiatives, local government issues, the importance of collections, and so on 

· The candidate should gain an understanding of how many partnerships your museum is involved in, particularly ones with organisations outside the museums sector

· The candidate should become committed to supporting your museum and representing your interests externally (wherever possible and appropriate). Encourage them to become a friend or patron, occasionally hold a constituency surgery at the museum and arrange a post-election visit to a museum event with other political colleagues

· Ask for their help in raising policy issues with ministers, the press, the local authority and other key stakeholders


Museums and the election (pdf)