Advocacy: cultivating alliances

Anonymous case study


This case study has been anonymised. It is an example of a University Archivist and Records Manager, in a service with 2-3 staff, using an advocacy mindset to develop strong relationships and cultivate alliances within their organisation.

What did they do?

Their approach is built around two principles:

1. Going the extra mile

When another department asks for help, the archive team always tries to give a ‘little bit extra’, even when it might not technically be part of their remit. For example, they:

  • Help managers choose artworks for their offices.
  • Have developed artefact tours with Estates before refurbishment or building work.
  • Run campus tours for new senior managers and for alumni.
  • Run remembrance activities for the organisation.
  • Sit on a committee developing apprenticeships and supporting technicians.

Sometimes, the ‘little bit extra’ can be something quite small and fairly effortless, like sourcing an old print for a staff member. They have also developed strong partnerships with cultural organisations in their local area by working collaboratively with them.

2. Being visible

Alongside going the extra mile, they try to be visible in the organisation. They attend lectures or events where they know senior managers and academics will be present. Their work on building tours and remembrance also makes them visible.

What advocacy benefits were there?

  • The service is well known within the organisation and has a strong reputation for being ‘can do’ people.
  • In addition, the service and its staff have a lot of goodwill with other staff and departments. This makes it easier to build relationships with people and departments.
  • In the long term, having this goodwill and reputation makes it easier for the service when they need to ask for something (e.g. an additional resource for a project/initiative).


  • Be open minded – think about how you can help someone, even if it is something simple. It will be appreciated.
  • Good enough is better than perfection – think about how you can help without having to commit a huge amount of time. Don’t worry about being perfect.
  • Networking – not everyone feels comfortable or has the time to go to lectures or events. Prioritise the events which you will enjoy and think will be most beneficial.