blue hydrangea flower

Stakeholder is not a dirty word.

As an interpretive planner, part of my job is helping parks, heritage sites, zoos, and aquariums identify the people around them whose lives or work will be affected by what they’re doing. So, early on in the interpretive planning process, I ask if we can sit down and identify their stakeholders. And more and more, …

The Membership Conundrum

Memberships aren’t what they used to be.  Is your organization struggling with its membership program? Are you having a tough time keeping your membership numbers up? You’re not alone.  Membership has always been a cornerstone of the nonprofit model: any society or association is by definition a group of like-minded people working together. And while …

A Community Advisory Group

It is becoming a well-known—dare I say best—practice in the heritage sector for each organization to assemble a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) advisory group. If you haven’t done so yet, you might really give it some serious thought. Who are these people? A DEIA Advisory Circle (or whatever they choose to name themselves) …

Sunset, Strait of Georgia

How to Craft a Vision Statement

There’s no sense telling your staff and public that you will be the top heritage attraction in the nation if you can’t craft a strategic plan (and budget) that will get you there. In my previous article, I outlined what I hope will be a fairly simple way to craft a relevant, realistic mission statement. The problem …

Mission Statement Checkup: How’s Yours?

Mission statements should avoid vague and lofty turns of phrase like “transforms lives” or “provides hope” or “empowers wise choices”. All planning starts with a mission. From your mission flow your vision, your strategic goals, your management plan, interpretive plan, marketing plan… and all of the magical visitor experiences you live to facilitate. Without a …

Slug crawling down wildlife sign

Branding Your Attraction: It Ain’t About The Logo

There’s no such thing as not having a brand. You have one, even as you read this. Branding is a vague and distasteful term. Particularly in the ecotourism and heritage sectors: nobody really wants to think of your cherished resource as a brand. So I’d like to establish what I mean by branding from the …

boat on calm water

Defining Your Values: Some Exercises

It takes time to become accustomed to values-based thinking. This is part two of a two-part article on organizational values in the heritage sector. Part one is here.  A values exercise is a way of defining your ethical approach to the prickly, unpleasant issues that are likely to rear their heads in the future. Your values …

bridge, paris

Organizational Values in the Heritage Sector

In the heritage sector, values and brand are ultimately one and the same. If your mission describes what you do as an organization, both your values and your brand describe how you do it. That may sound strange: brand and values sound like two very different areas of concern. But I’m going to suggest to …