What does a resilient museum really mean?

Posted: 31/01/2018, by:

What is resilience and what can your museum do to achieve it?

If you’re not sure where to start, check out our latest article on heritage resilience


Create a realistic, targeted, business plan for your Resilient Museum

You’ve got a vision. You’ve got some aims and objectives. You begin downloading funding application forms.

But, before you start sending those forms, you will need to create a business plan. Heritage organisations can feel trapped in the idea that being a not-for-profit means ‘not making a profit’. That’s a complete misconception. Being not-for-profit just means your organisation does not exist to put profits into the hands of the board of directors.

It is now no longer viable for museums to aim to break even. Generating a profit will allow your organisation to re-invest its own money into activities that flow from its vision and mission.

If you’re not sure where to start, or would like some more information, the Association of Independent Museum’s Guide to Successful Business Planning is an excellent document. If you need some more strategic help with designing a business plan, external consultancy agencies like Tricolor can offer a tailored business planning service for your organisation.

Now, think about funding 

Even with the old Resilient Heritage programme closed, you can still apply for grants for resilient museums or resilient heritage from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Building capacity and transforming how your organisation operates as a business is also something that if you receive local authority funding, they might be interested in support, through an Invest to Save Strategy.

Under the new Strategic Funding Framework at the National Lottery Heritage Fund, building sustainability is still an issue of the centre of the funding priorities. However whilst there used to be a whole separate stream for resilience, this has now been rolled into three funding streams separated by ask value – £3,000 to £10,000 – likely to be a good place to start if your looking to undertake audience or stakeholder research and internal auditing into how your organisation can build its resilience or the £10,000 to £250,000 level, which may be appropriate to undertake key pieces of work to actually develop your resilience such as business planning, the creation of a data management platform or specific training for trustees and staff.

To begin the process of applying for resilient funding, complete the Strength Checker.


Including a copy of this with your application will show funders you are using all of the resources available to you. Continue by using the project enquiry form to inform them of your intention to apply (only over £10,000). The Heritage Fund will be able to provide you with further information once you have received feedback on the enquiry form.

If your organisation needs help applying for resilience funding, or putting plans into action, Tricolor can help you through this process. Tricolor works with a range of heritage organisations to successfully adopt resilience strategies, and are the experts in heritage funding.

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