Step 5: Formulate Goals

Clear, written, specific goals for your effort can help you advocate more effectively for your place.

Consider your answers to the questions we have asked you so far. What values, stakeholders, threats and opportunities apply to your place? Based on this information, what do you want to achieve in your campaign for your place?  Writing down a specific, clear goal or set of goals for your efforts will help you form a deliberate plan for achieving them, keep your project on track, and explain and present your case to others for protecting a place that matters.

Often it makes sense to formulate a statement of goals with the help of as many stakeholders as possible, so that everyone's views are accurately represented.

Based on our experience with Place Matters, we suggest that one or more of the following three (sometimes overlapping) goals may provide useful starting points:

1. Preserving the Structure

Projects to preserve a structure focus on the physical aspects of a place, such as the interior and exterior architecture, craftsmanship, design, and decoration. These projects could take the form of securing ownership or financial support to restore or renovate a structure or prevent its demolition; obtaining official historic recognition in order to protect it; or expanding public appreciation of the structure.

2. Retaining Longstanding Use

Projects that retain longstanding use focus on the activities hosted by a place. These could include the "official" uses as well as more informal uses that have evolved over time. Such projects would seek to sustain use by shoring up finances, increasing the numbers of users, promoting the importance of the use, protecting or finding a new site for the use, and so on.

Gaining landmark status for the structure that houses the use is not included here because "use" is generally not a recognized criterion for landmark designation.

3. Interpreting the Story

Projects that interpret the story seek to let the public know what this particular place can tell us about our history. Interpretation is education. Interpretive projects can include: organizing walking tours, public discussions, and celebrations; putting up place markers; writing articles and books; publishing web sites. Some projects prioritize heightening local recognition of a place, while others seek broader recognition through strategies such as gaining landmark designation.