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1 What helps make heritage organisations resilient? John Davies, English Heritage 15 th March 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "1 What helps make heritage organisations resilient? John Davies, English Heritage 15 th March 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 What helps make heritage organisations resilient? John Davies, English Heritage 15 th March 2013

2 2 What the research involved ‘Resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness’ Understanding the factors that lead to resilience Based on interviews and research with leaders of 15 case study organisations involved with heritage

3 3 Resilient organisations make best use of their assets commercially Tips included: Aiming to attract diverse income streams to avoid dependence on any one source Assessing risks and seeking to minimise them by testing new products and services on a small scale before scaling up Sharing services and ventures with partners where this makes for more efficient delivery

4 4 Case study of Hodsock Priory Hodsock Priory in Nottinghamshire Diversifying income - through a wedding venue which now produces 45% of the estates income - the same as farming Raising awareness - Developed an events programme which aims to hold an event at least once a month Sourcing skills - Looking to establish a formal board structure to bring in wider expertise

5 5 They recruit the right people at board-level Most of the organisations surveyed used a structured recruitment approach to ensure they had strong boards Board skills regularly audited and people recruited to fill gaps The most sought-after skills are financial acumen and legal and human resources expertise

6 6 Beamish Open air museum in County Durham Teaches visitors about life in Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian times Having events all-year round to move beyond reliance on summer visitors Introduced unlimited annual re-entry tickets, in response to customer research Half of income from admissions the rest from catering, retail and other activities

7 7 Resilient organisations make best use of volunteers They have a thorough understanding of: their volunteer base and what motivates them how to design volunteering opportunities tailored to different kinds of volunteer the training needs of volunteers and those that work with them

8 8 The Woodland Trust UK’s leading Woodland conservation charity Collect information on supporter engagement to allow them to tailor offers and requests to levels of commitment Appointed a volunteer champion to lead the volunteering strategy. Detailed volunteer section of the website

9 9 Resilient organisations are pioneers They recognise that their entrepreneurial activities challenge assumptions about what is considered usual practice. Examples of this are: –Charging for online access to digital material –Promoting a diverse range of non-heritage activities on a sensitive heritage site

10 10 Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) in London Since 1980 BAC has delivered theatrical productions from the 19 th Century Battersea town hall Recently switched from using conventional theatrical spaces, to make the rooms of the building an integral part of the performance Important to maintain ambition to attract funders, even in difficult times Since 1980 BAC has delivered theatrical productions from the 19 th Century Battersea town hall Recently switched from using conventional theatrical spaces, to make the rooms of the building an integral part of the performance Important to maintain ambition to attract funders, even in difficult times Set up a commercial trading arm Focus on cross-team working

11 11 They plan ahead Experiences highlighted importance of: Identifying new short-term opportunities (perhaps up to 12 months ahead) to sustain or develop the organisation – for example new funding, products or markets Changing business plans in response to short-term opportunities or risks– but avoiding projects that skew or change the organisation’s fundamental aims Reviewing legal status and considering the merits of alternative models (e.g. trust status, trading arm, outsourcing)

12 12 Apsley Paper Trail Trust in Hertfordshire A charity dedicated to the history of paper making. Owns the oldest mechanised paper mill in the world Planned to raise income from selling land. However, this fell through in the recession Able to keep operating through increased use of volunteers Used a corporate recovery consultant to create a business plan enabling the mill to keep operating till the land is sold

13 13 They are visible and connected Resilient heritage organisations are networked beyond their immediate local area and the heritage sector (and consider recruiting from other sectors). Networks include: –Umbrella associations –Trade associations –Other local groups –The Boards of other organisations

14 14 Communicating: Evidence of lower social media use among Heritage organisations

15 15 Many factors contribute to resilience: Commercial engagement Recruiting the right skills Effective use of volunteers Innovating Planning ahead Communicating (internally and externally) Further information available at:


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