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The Manual of Strategic Planning for Cultural Organizations

A Guide for Museums, Performing Arts, Science Centers, Public Gardens, Heritage Sites, Libraries, Archives and Zoos

Gail Dexter Lord and Kate Markert

The Manual of Strategic Planning for Cultural Organizations adopts a hollistic approach to the creative world of cultural institutions. By encompassing museums, art galleries, gardens, zoos, science centers, historic sites, cultural centers, festivals, and performing arts, this book responds to the reality that boundaries are being blurred among institutional types—with many gardens incorporating exhibitions, many museums part of multidisciplinary cultural centers and festivals.. As cultural leaders transform the arts in the twenty-first century, this “whole career” manual will prepare readers for every stage. Three key areas covered are:
Leadership change. This chapter explains the role of strategic planning when an institution is going through the process of hiring a new director. A question we are frequently asked is “Should the strategic plan precede the search process or should it wait until the new director takes up the position?”
Institutional change. Increasingly, cultural organizations are going through major change: from public-sector agencies to nonprofit corporations; from private ownership to non-profit status; from nonprofit status to a foundation, and many other variations. This book addresses the role of strategic planning during these transitions.
Staff empowerment. This manual addresses the opportunities for staff at all levelsto grow by participating in strategic planning. This edition focuses on how to engage and empower staff.
A Guide for Museums, Performing Arts, Science Centers, Public Gardens, Heritage Sites, Libraries, Archives, and Zoos is a game-changing book with broad reach into the cultural sector, while still serving the museum community.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 196Size: 7 x 10
978-1-5381-0130-8 • Hardback • March 2017 • $85.00 • (£54.95)
978-1-5381-0131-5 • Paperback • March 2017 • $38.00 • (£24.95)
978-1-5381-0132-2 • eBook • March 2017 • $36.00 • (£24.95)
Gail Dexter Lord is co-founder and co-president of Lord Cultural Resources. With Barry Lord, she is co-editor of The Manual of Museum Planning (1991, 1999, 2012), co-author of The Manual of Museum Management (1997 and 2009), and with Kate Markert co-author of the first edition of the Manual of Strategic Planning for Museums (2007). Gail’s most recent book is Cities, Museums and Soft Power (co-authored with Ngaire Blankenberg in 2015).

Kate Markert is executive director of Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Washington, D.C., where, as the result of a strategic planning process, a special exhibition program and revitalized gardens have spurred a 50 percent increase in attendance over five years and has tripled the membership. She has been director of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford Connecticut, associate director of the Walters Art Museum, and deputy director and acting director of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Chapter 1
WHY Conduct a Strategic Plan?
1.1Forces of Change
1.2Understanding Your Cultural Organization
1.3The Significance of Foundations Statements
Case Study 1.1: The Guggenheim Bilbao Strategic Vision 2020
Case Study 1.2: Why do you Need Libraries Anyway? The County of Los Angeles Public Library Strategic Plan: A Case Study
Case Study 1.3: Soft Power and The Gardiner Museum's Strategic Plan
Chapter 2
WHEN to Conduct a Strategic Plan
2.1Professional Standards
2.2New Director
2.3New Circumstances
2.4New and Renewed Facilities and New Location
2.5Readiness Checklist
Case Study 2.1: It’s Time for Strategic Planning at the Whitney Museum of American Art
Case Study 2.2: A New Strategic Direction for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Chapter 3
WHO AND WHAT: The Structure of Strategic Planning
3.3The Ten Steps of Strategic Planning
Case Study 3.1: Tafelmusik’s Strategic Plan for Acoustical Excellence
Case Study 3.2: Benefits of Strategic Planning in Science Centers
Chapter 4
HOW: Methods of Engagement
4.1Principles of Strategic Planning
4.2Internal Assessment
4.2.3Using Technology
4.3External Assessment
Case Study 4.1: Why Strategic Planning for Cultural Organizations Needs to Include the City
Case Study 4.2: How Art League Houston Engaged Communities
Chapter 5
From Problems to Strategies
5.1Thinking Strategically
5.2Identifying Key Issues
5.3Comparison and Benchmarking
5.4Construction of Scenarios
Case Study 5.1: The Role of Strategic Planning in Formalizing and Communicating the Changing Role of the Toronto Zoo
Case Study 5.2: A New Governance Strategy for the Tom Thomson Art Gallery
Chapter 6
From Strategies to Goals: The Strategic Planning Retreat
6.1Setting Realistic Objectives for the Retreat
6.2The Retreat Agenda
6.3Retreat Report
Case Study 6.1: Creativity is Center Stage in Strategic Planning for Roundabout Theatre Company
Chapter 7
From Goals to Objectives and Tasks
7.1Strategic Planning Workbook
7.2Facilitating the Staff Process
Case Study 7.1: Henry Ford Estate – Fair Lane: A 21st Century Blueprint for an Iconic Historic Home
Chapter 8
Implementing the Plan
8.1Detailing the Plan
8.2The Financials in the Plan
8.3The Budget and the Plan
8.4Alignment with the Organization’s Long-Range Plans
8.5Alignment with Human Resources Strategy
8.6Alignment of Staff and Board
8.7The Public Dimension: Communicating the Plan
Case Study 8.1: A Great Garden of the World -- Our Planning Story
Chapter 9
Evaluating the Strategic Plan
9.1The Board’s Role in Evaluation
9.2Involving All Board Committees
9.3Staff Roles in Evaluating the Plan
9.4The Bigger Question: Are These the Right Goals? Or, Is It Time for a New Plan?
Case Study 9.1: Measuring What Matters in Strategic Planning
Case Study 9.2: Using Metrics to Further Alignment at Hillwood
Chapter 10
Conclusion: What Can Go Wrong and How to Fix It
Strategic planning is at the heart of every successful business. Museums and cultural institutions are complex organizations. For them, strategic planning is even more vital to both survival and success. Gail Lord and Kate Markert have revised and expanded one of the essential volumes on planning for cultural organizations. From gardens and zoos to art museums and libraries, The Manual of Strategic Planning for Cultural Organizations is a blueprint to be followed. Too often, planning is deferred, replaced with attention to more pressing and immediate needs—which can result in lackluster performance or even failure. With this volume, strategic planning is made accessible and understandable in a straightforward manner. This book is both a ‘how-to’ guide with great, concise case studies and an essential theoretical overview of the processes, philosophies, and practices that underpin any solid strategic planning effort. I hope it will serve as a guide and encouragement for many to invest in the most important task any cultural organization can make beyond a solid mission: its strategic plan to success.
Alex Nyerges, director and CEO, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Every cultural institution today is operating in a time of great change and has an obligation to help its constituents and stakeholder understand, adapt to, and in many cases take on leadership roles. Lord and Market have created an inspiring manual on how to meet these challenges through change management and strategic planning. This manual is much more than a ‘how to’ primer; the cases studies provide deep insights in ways leaders can execute best business practices to efficiency and effectively achieve a shared mission. Philanthropists, board members, and nonprofit leadership will all want to roll up their sleeves and get to work after reading this forward-looking guide.”
Howard Axel, CEO, Four Freedoms Park Conservancy