As pressures on cultural institutions grow, it is becoming more important for those institutions to show their stakeholders that they are working to increase their sustainability. One of the best ways, but certainly not the easiest, is to develop and implement a strategic plan. A good strategic plan sets mission-centered goals for the institution, provides action steps for meeting those goals, outlines the resources necessary to accomplish the actions, assigns responsibilities and shows how progress toward the goals and success will be measured.
Each function of the institution should be represented in the strategic plan. If your organization is a collecting institution, it is very important to be sure that collections stewardship is fully integrated into the overall plan. Keep in mind that even a slight shift in direction for the organization, a common result of strategic planning, can lead to a shift in how the collection is utilized or added to in the future. The following is a list of questions to ask as your organization moves through the planning process that can help keep the collection in mind.
Whether or not you are currently involved in strategic planning, these questions can help with discussions about collections stewardship as well as how your collections fit into the daily and long-term activities of your institution. The answers could lay the foundation for a stand-alone collections plan. After completing a strategic planning process, remember to look back at collection documents and ensure every part of the institution’s policies are in line with the new plan for its future. Collecting institutions have a responsibility to their collections, make sure they are not forgotten during important planning processes.
American Association for State and Local History
Connecting to Collections Online Community
Indiana Historical Society Local History Services Lending Resource Center