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“Small voluntary

museums are the


backbone of the
sector. They deserve
the same resources
and recognition as
larger organisations”
Annie Mauger, Chief Executive

MLA Yorkshire
Mission Models Money exemplar case study
The Mission Models Money exemplar case studies

The largest strand of MMM’s third phase has been a relationship with seven diverse arts and
cultural organisations, all of whom have been exemplars of radical change and new working
practice. Each in very different ways have seized the opportunity to respond to change and
complexity in their contemporary operating environment by refocusing and/or refreshing their
missions, exploring how they might develop their business model and reconsidering how they
might strengthen their financial capacity. These case studies explore each exemplar’s journey
during their year-long involvement with MMM from Spring 2006 to Spring 2007.

MLA Yorkshire and the other exemplar projects are involved in activities that will continue to
develop well past their involvement with MMM. In working with the exemplars, MMM did not set
out to monitor and evaluate the projects in a restrictive fashion. Instead, a support structure
and evaluation methodology was developed that framed them as colleagues on the front-line,
laboratories for learning and for testing new ideas. With these principles in mind, each exemplar
enjoyed a range of interactions with MMM which included on an individual level – interviews,
bespoke support, and access to the wider MMM programme and on a collective level –
participation in the exemplar learning community developed through a series of checkpoint
meetings and advocacy events.

MMM has used its seven principal issues (See further resources section at the end for the full list)
to form the basis of its enquiries across all its activities in each of its seven programme strands.
The two which are most addressed by this case study are:

• Strategic alliances
• New methods of operation, business model and infrastructure

Greater than the sum of its parts

In this exemplar case study, we follow MLA Yorkshire’s efforts to create a partnership between a
number of small independent museums with the aim of them acting together as a federated
group to develop their fundraised income.

While we are familiar with the national and larger museums and galleries, many of us are less
aware of the UK’s thousands of independent museums, many of which have teams of only a few
volunteers and few, if any, ‘professional’ members of staff. This results in, among other things,
poor financial sustainability and very limited opening hours and access.

MLA Yorkshire designed the federated fundraising project in recognition of the opportunity for
these previously isolated museums to start working together. The reality however is that this
project has grown into an investigation of the museums’ development and capacity for growth.

MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 2


The structure of this case study

This MMM exemplar case study uses two frameworks to tell MLA Yorkshire’s story: the classic
mythical story structure of the hero’s journey and the three M’s.

The hero’s journey

The hero’s journey is a phrase based upon ideas from the comparative mythologist Joseph
Campbell. It is a metaphor for transformation. Taking the models outlined in Campbell’s Hero
with a Thousand Faces (1946) as the archetype, the basic cycle of transformation is represented
as:

The call to action The trials Wise advisors The prizes The return

From the initial call to action that embarks us on the journey of the project to the return to our
communities at the completion of the MMM process, this is a familiar yet effective narrative
structure that provides a powerful container for the exemplar’s stories. It should however
always be remembered that these are rarely linear journeys but are instead cycles of experience
and of learning

MMM: the iron triangle

As explained in Linking Mission and Money: an introduction


Mission to non-profit capitalization, (Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF)
2001), all not for profit, and especially those going through
any major change project require a balance between
mission/programmes, models/organisational capacity and
money/financial capacity.

The NFF terms this interdependent relationship “the iron


triangle” where any change in one of those three elements
inevitably has an impact on the other two.
Models Money
Recognising how essential this holistic approach is to the
sustainability of not for profit arts & cultural organisations
in today’s ever changing environment, the MMM took the
inspiration for its name from this triangle.

The terms mission, models and money will be used throughout this case study to illustrate how
attention to each and the interdependence of all three will enable holistic development of
organisational and financial sustainability.

Mission: the non-negotiable core purpose of your organisation

Models: your legal structure, business model and organisational capacity

Money: your financial capacity – your assets: cash, working capital, reserves, debtors,
fixed assets and your liabilities: short and long term debt

MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 3


What you should know about MLA Yorkshire before reading on…

• MLA Yorkshire (MLAY) is one of nine regional agencies that form the Museums, Libraries
and Archives Council (MLA), which is the lead strategic agency for museums, libraries and
archives in England. MLAY works to improve people’s lives through access to the region’s
collections and resources – building knowledge, supporting learning, inspiring creativity,
and celebrating identity.

• In 2003, MLA and its regional partners launched Renaissance, the first time that
investment from central government was directed into museums across the regions.
• Renaissance is focussed on raising the standards and delivering real results relating to
education, learning, community development and economic development.
• The Museum Development Fund element of Renaissance provides MLAY with resources to
work small and medium sized museums through the employment of a team of Museum
Development Officers. The Renaissance programme enables MLAY to continue a long
tradition of working with the independent museums sector in the region.
• MLAY has expertise in the development of voluntary organisations but due to historic
capacity issues has focused on particular areas for engagement. Previously, MLAY has
not actively engaged with the independent museum community in West Yorkshire,
Harrogate and Craven. MMM investment has extended capacity and enabled MLAY to
experiment in new ways of working.
• MLAY has approximately 15 staff with this project being the responsibility of the
Sustainability Development Manager, Almut Grüner.
• The Museum Development Officer recruited to help manage this project is Anna
Marshall.

www.mlayorkshire.org.uk

www.missionmodelsmoney.org.uk

MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 4


Volunteers at the Horsforth Museum

The call to action

The call to action The trials Wise advisors The prizes The return

What is it that makes us want to embark on our journeys of change and of transformation? Are
we forced to by circumstance, invited by those around us or do we just have a feeling that
evolution and innovation is the only road possible to take?

As the 2001 MLA strategy and policy report, Renaissance in the Regions: a new vision for
England’s museums, stated:

Independent museums are managed outside the traditional frameworks of central or local
government. Some receive annual grants from local authorities, but many have no public-
funding support for their core activities. Almost all of them are set up and run as charitable
companies. They range from small local organisations, mainly operated by volunteers, to large
or national-scale operations. Their collections are very varied, covering the whole field of
museum work, with a significant number being associated with historic, craft, industrial or
transport sites. They have contributed much to the changing face of the nation’s conserved
heritage, focusing on visitor requirements, attractive presentations, and earned income to
support the core activities of conservation and research. Almost all independent museums have
admission charges, and some operate only seasonally, deriving much of their income from
tourists.

Yorkshire has an impressive 163 museums in the region with 63 of these being independent
organisations. Out of the 63 independent museums, 45 operate without any full time or part
time professionally qualified curators. In West Yorkshire, Harrogate and Craven there are 23
MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 5
independent museums, 20 of which operate without full or part time professionally qualified
curators. There is a clear need for investment in the independent sector to facilitate the
development of small, voluntary organisations.

MOST OF US HAVE LITTLE EXPERIENCE OF FUNDRAISING THOUGH WE ARE


AWARE OF CERTAIN SOURCES OF GRANTS AND HAVE APPLIED FOR SMALL GRANTS IN
THE PAST. FINANCES CAN BE A SERIOUS WORRY AND TRAINING AND ADVICE
WOULD BE VERY USEFUL. OUR FRIENDS SCHEME MAY SHORTLY BE INADEQUATE IN
PROVIDING FINANCE AS COSTS OF RENTING OUR ROOMS KEEP INCREASING.

WE FIND DEVOTING TIME TO FUNDRAISING EVENTS AS WELL AS STAFFING THE


MUSEUM FOR DAY TO DAY OPENINGS AND RESEARCHERS IS SOMETIMES TOO
MUCH FOR A SMALL GROUP.”

Margaret Hornby, Otley Museum

Small independent museums have historically operated at the margins of financial viability.
Many, if not most, are reliant on their ability to generate their own income. This can include
various methods of fundraising, trading activities or admission charges, but not all organisations
are active to the same extent in each of these areas. This lack of capacity is characterised by
limited opening hours, a small volunteer base and all the attendant challenges that go with
working with volunteers.

COLNE VALLEY MUSEUM EXPERIENCES A WHOLE RANGE OF SUCCESSION AND


RETENTION PROBLEMS. NEW RECRUITS RARELY WANT TO COMMIT TO A REGULAR
‘ROTA’ OF VOLUNTEERING (DUTY STEWARD OR DEMONSTRATOR) NOR DO THEY
[GENERALLY] WANT TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE MANAGEMENT TEAM.

MANY OF OUR VOLUNTEERS ARE OVER THE AGE OF 70 AND COLNE VALLEY MUSEUM
HAS HAD TO ASK TO VOLUNTEERS TO STOP VOLUNTEERING AT THE AGE OF 90
BECAUSE THE MUSEUM WAS UNABLE TO SECURE INSURANCE. ONE VOLUNTEER IN
PARTICULAR - KNOWN AS GRANDDAD TO THE SCHOOL CHILDREN WHO VISIT THE
MUSEUM - ATTENDED JUST ABOUT EVERY SCHOOL VISIT (AND WE HAVE ABOUT 100
PER ANNUM) TO DEMONSTRATE TEXTILE CRAFT SKILLS TO HIS YOUNG AUDIENCE.

THE MUSEUM HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO REPLACE GRANDDAD – AS RECRUITS WITH
THE RIGHT EXPERIENCE, COUPLED WITH A DESIRE TO INTERACT WITH YOUNG
PEOPLE ARE DIFFICULT TO FIND

Duncan Beaumont, Colne Valley Museum

MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 6


WE FIND IT VERY DIFFICULT TO FIND ENOUGH VOLUNTEERS TO OPEN OUR MUSEUMS
EVERY DAY (WE OPEN FROM 1PM - 4PM). WE ARE IN COMPETITION WITH THE
CATHEDRAL, FOUNTAINS ABBEY AND THE VARIOUS CHARITY SHOPS IN RIPON THAT
ALSO NEED VOLUNTEERS.

AS A FULL TIME MEMBER OF STAFF I OFTEN HAVE TO COVER THE GAPS IN THE
ROTAS MYSELF WHICH ULTIMATELY MEANS THAT I AM NOT IN THE OFFICE.

Penny Hartley, Ripon Museums Trust

This project was designed to assist independent museums in their development trajectory into
more sustainable organisations by increasing and broadening their income streams and moving
away from project specific funding. As part of this process, it is important for executive and
volunteer teams to develop new and existing skills sets. Independent museums are the
custodians of collections with high local and regional significance and are crucial in the creation
of a sense of place and identity. They also have a significant role to play in the emerging place
shaping agenda. Without the existence of these museums, much of this heritage would be at
risk. Enhancing the sustainability of independent museums is necessary to secure the long-term
preservation of Yorkshire’s heritage.

Within the voluntary sector, partnership working to address issues such as marketing or
exhibition development is not uncommon. This is particularly the case in North Yorkshire where
development support has been available to the voluntary sector over a longer period of time.
MLAY was keen to take this approach and apply it to a new geographic area and expand it to
encompass fundraising. The principle of working with a pool of voluntary and independent
museums to collectively benefit from fundraising activity was considered to be a form of
‘Federated Fundraising’. It is the long-term ambition that, over time, enough skills will be
transferred to the group so that the partnership will be able to act by itself without external
support. This concept of federated fundraising in relation to organisational development across a
number of volunteer museums is without precedent in Yorkshire.

The involvement with MMM helped MLAY to employ a Museum Development Officer. This Officer
identified a limited number of voluntary museums with which to pilot the idea of federated
fundraising and implement the resulting development programme The project also forms part of
MLAY’s work in relation to the Renaissance programme and links directly into the key priority
areas of providing benefits to users by developing organisations and workforces and increasing
and sustaining user participation.

In this way, the MMM exemplar project enabled MLAY to meet the mission of Renaissance
through increasing officer capacity. This has allowed MLAY to explore a new way of working both
in terms of geography and in theme. The museums for this project have been chosen from the
pool in West Yorkshire, Harrogate and Craven; the areas covered by the Museum Development
Officer. They are:

Horsforth Museum Otley Museum


Colne Valley Museum Ripon Museums Trust
Harlow Carr Museum of Gardening Middleton Railway Museum
Upper Wharfedale Museum
MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 7
Visitors to Otley Museum
The trials

The call to action The trials Wise advisors The prizes The return

As with all change projects, MLA Yorkshire faced challenges both in terms of developing a new
area of work and engaging in a new geographic area. This required MLAY to build relationships
with the independent museum sector in West Yorkshire from a comparatively low baseline. As
with all elements of this case study, each of these challenges is not presented merely as a one-
way story. Instead they should be read as a dialogue, or even as an interview.

Have you encountered similar situations in your work and what was your response? What can
you learn from MLA Yorkshire’s experience so that you are better equipped both as an individual
and as part of whatever network or organisation you find yourself in? How would you overcome
such challenges? What are your trials?

Strategic alliances between organisations with common functions and issues can be one of the
most powerful ways to improve effectiveness, be it in administration or artistic or curatorial
activities. For all their benefits however, they are fraught with difficulties.

Moving targets and building relationships: how the story changed

WE KNEW WE HAD TO ENGAGE THE SECTOR TO SECURE


DEVELOPMENT; THE TRICK WAS TO ARTICULATE AND PROMOTE
THE END BENEFT.

Michael Turnpenny, Regional Museums Adviser


MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 8
To implement any partnership or federated project, any participating museums need to be able
to identify a benefit from their engagement. This required the MLAY team to undertake a period
of analysis and consultation to identify the shared needs and opportunities that would create the
framework of the partnership. Although the initial intention had been to operate as a federated
fundraising partnership, it became clear during the initial phase of the project that an
organisational development programme was more likely to deliver the longer term objectives of
both MLAY and the museums. Although this process required time and a reassessment of
targets, it was essential to the successful delivery of the project.

MLA Yorkshire’s experience of developing and facilitating partnership projects has demonstrated
that organisations operate with self interested motivators. The decision to engage in a
partnership project will be the result of a judgement, often tacit, of the investment required
(time & other resources) against the rewards offered. Participation is unlikely to occur if costs
are high with limited benefits, whilst sustained engagement will be limited if both costs and
benefits are high.

Experience demonstrates that partnership projects run in a cyclical fashion from high cost: low
benefit at start up, towards the performance peak of low cost: high benefit at maturity. The
Museum Development Officer’s role in this cycle is to identify and promote the
benefits/motivators and then accelerate the process so that the partnership can spend the
longest possible time in the low cost: high benefit zone. Eventually the partnership will have to
be revised or, if necessary, terminated before performance drops back towards low cost: low
benefit.

Benefit

 Cost

In order to create the basis of the partnership, the Museum Development Officer had to identify
key motivators, issues and opportunities through which organisations could be connected. All of
the organisations with whom the Museum Development Officer was engaging were Registered
Museums that were in the process of developing to meet a new, higher, national museum
standard, Accreditation. Some of the museums have been members of this scheme since its
inception almost twenty years ago and have a track record of delivering quality museum
services. This created an opportunity for museums to undertake an ‘Accreditation Healthcheck’
to identify development needs within the context of a forthcoming higher standard. This process
was undertaken either on a self-assessment basis or facilitated through the Museum
Development Officer or the Regional Accreditation Officer. The results of the Healthcheck and
associated consultation process led to a number of key organisational development areas being
identified across a range of museums. As a result, the project quickly evolved from one based
on fundraising to one focused on the necessity for a broader range of skills and capacity building
- the foundations on which successful fundraising and long term sustainability are based.

MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 9


The key organisational development areas that consultation with the museums revealed were as
follows:

• volunteer recruitment and management


• succession planning
• leadership
• sharing knowledge and experience
• fundraising as a skill set
• the mindsets of partners
• reaching the ‘Accreditation Standard’, the new national minimum standards for all museums
• building links with wider voluntary networks and accessing support

Once the priorities of the programme had been established, one of the main challenges faced
during the inception of the MMM project was the building of the partnership itself and gaining
commitment from the museums involved. The difficulties encountered were twofold, firstly the
development of new professional relationships and secondly management procedures of third
sector colleagues. The involvement of MMM enabled MLAY to expand its development support
operations into a new geographic area as well as to trial different methods of engagement.
Previously MLAY engagement in West Yorkshire, Harrogate and Craven had been limited
primarily to crisis intervention and standards assessment. With the creation of a new Museum
Development Officer post, the post-holder and constituent museums had to develop their
professional relationships. This process took time both in the development of mutual
understanding of needs and opportunities but also in the establishment of trust and openness.

Due to the size, nature and governance structure of each of the seven museums involved, there
were additional delays in gathering the necessary information together to begin the project, and
in particular to support funding applications. Many museums of this nature have infrequent
trustee and committee meetings where all business has to be discussed and decisions taken to
agree involvement in training or new projects, therefore, volunteers are not always in a position
to commit to a project before these discussion take place. In addition, for very small voluntary
organisations long term projects such as this one are difficult to commit to. Approval for
engagement has to be made at a trustee or committee level, who often need to be able to
visualise a tangible return for the time they are committing. With a skills and organisational
development project, this return is less tangible in the short-term; it does not result directly in a
new exhibition or an interpretive activity.

Hand in hand with the problems of time delays on decision-making is the issue of commitment
and responsibility from trustees and volunteers in participating organisations. Whilst there is a
clear need for skills and capacity building, this often requires a programme of training and
workshops which trustees and volunteers may not have time to attend or feel they lack the skills
to engage effectively. This is particularly the case if the training is at a strategic or business
level.

WE HAVE HAD A VACANCY FOR A MARKETING / PUBLICITY VOLUNTEER FOR


OVER TWO YEARS – FOUR RECRUITS STAYED THE COURSE LESS THAN
THREE MONTHS AS THE DEMANDS OF THIS TYPE OF VOLUNTEERING WERE
TOO MUCH FOR A ‘HOBBY’ VOCATION.”

Duncan Beaumont, Colne Valley Museum


MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 10
The lessons learned from this initial period of meetings therefore encouraged the MLAY team to
reform the aims of the project from the original focus of a federated fundraising project to one of
general capacity development. This required attention to be moved away from issues purely
concerned with income generation. Instead, the focus was placed on the core competencies that
facilitate sustainable development, which will have the long-term benefit of moving these
organisations away from the boundaries of sustainability. These included:

• Forward planning
• Fundraising sustainability strategy & planning
• Fundraising mechanisms appropriate to the independent sector
• Volunteer management & motivation
• Volunteer recruitment & succession

This project was termed Valuing Volunteers: Small Museums Development Project.

MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 11


Visitors to Colne Valley Museum

Wise advisors

.
The call to action The trials Wise advisors The prizes The return

In the course of the journey of innovation, there are often many people that guide us through
our times of trouble and on our way. Sometimes they are not people but incidents, episodes
that teach us and inform our practice.

The museum project managers

Throughout the project, the dedication of the project managers within participating museums has
been a great inspiration.

THROUGH ALL THIS WE TURN UP , SOME OF US MANY DAYS IN THE WEEK , WRITING
POLICIES AND RISK ASSESSMENTS, CHANGING EXHIBITIONS, DEMONSTRATING CLOG-
MAKING OR WEAVING, ENTERTAINING VISITORS – MARKETING THE PRODUCT, SWEEPING
UP AND MAKING TEA, ATTENDING MEETINGS AND ATTENDING COURSES. AND YES,
GETTING OUT OF BED DURING THE NIGHT WHEN THE INTRUDER ALARM GOES OFF!

WE DO THIS FOR A FEW REASONS; GENERALLY WE ARE HAVING A GOOD TIME


THROUGHOUT ALL THIS, ALTHOUGH SOME OF US JUST NEED THE SOCIAL CONTACT AND
OTHERS LIKE PUTTING ON A GOOD SHOW, WE ALL HAVE COMMITMENT - WHY? BECAUSE
WE BELIEVE THAT THE HERITAGE IN OUR CUSTODY SHOULD BE SHARED WITH OTHERS AND
PROTECTED FOR THE COMING GENERATIONS – AND THIS IS WHY WE WORRY ABOUT OUR
SUSTAINABILITY.

Duncan Beaumont

MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 12


The museums’ very survival depends on the volunteers and that in itself is a testament to their
passion and enthusiasm. What has become clear through the project is that the passion and
drive of those volunteers and museum leaders needs focusing and streamlining to allow the
museums’ development to be more sustainable. It is clear that providing one off training
sessions does not meet the needs of this independent sector adequately and that more tailored
advice and training with follow-up work and support has a much greater benefit. This enables
the museums to concentrate more on the root causes of their sustainability problems rather than
simply tackling the symptoms.

IN SPITE OF THE HEADACHES WE LOVE DOING WHAT WE DO AND FIND IT ADDS SO MUCH
TO OUR OWN KNOWLEDGE OF THE AREA AND HOW IT HAS DEVELOPED. THERE IS A LOT
OF SATISFACTION TO BE GAINED FROM THE VISITS OF APPRECIATIVE YOUNG CHILDREN
AND FROM HELPING PEOPLE WITH THEIR FAMILY HISTORY, FOR EXAMPLE, FINDING THE
ONLY PHOTOGRAPH THEY HAVE SEEN OF THEIR GREAT, GREAT UNCLE. IN OUR KIND OF
MUSEUM THERE CAN BE REAL PERSONAL CONTACT WITH OUR VISITORS WHICH IS
REWARDING ON BOTH SIDES.

Margaret Otley

Although the Valuing Volunteers: Small Museums Development Project is still at an early delivery
phase, the partner museums have already participated in meetings where they have been able to
share ideas and experiences and contribute to the project plan. These first meetings have
highlighted how keen the museums are to work together and the volunteer’s commitment to
personal and workforce development. This is already beginning to provide the context for the
museums to both help each other and to facilitate organisational development. The combined
enthusiasm of the practitioners is being harnessed, creating a wave of momentum for
development and an environment in which shared learning can occur.

Other key moments have the establishment of relationships between public and third sector
organisations. Through having access to a Museum Development Officer, museums have been
better able to access specialist advice. Although some of this has been within the museum
sector, one of the greatest opportunities has been the development of relationships with other
infrastructure agencies. Very often the voluntary independent museum sector does not see itself
as part of the broader voluntary sector. As a result, it has been isolated from a range of support
and development services. Through engaging with the Museum Development Officer and by
developing the partnership, the museums have been able to build their relationships with
voluntary sector infrastructure agencies. This is envisaged to be of great significance for the
museums beyond the lifespan of this project and will create further development and partnership
opportunities.

MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 13


The prizes

The call to action The trials Wise advisors The prizes The return

While all these exemplar journeys will not be completed during their involvement with MMM,
there are many prizes which have been collected so far.

Skills and capability planning

Through the process of analysis and consultation, the partnership and MLA Y have created a
development programme that is owned by the group. This level of ownership and engagement
means that the programme reflects the needs experienced by partners and should therefore
ensure that commitment continues throughout the life of the scheme if not beyond. Although the
analysis, consultation and self-assessment process was time consuming and required a revision of
the project, it provided a thorough analysis of the areas requiring development, which was a very
valuable exercise. With a foundation of basic competencies, which this programme is aiming to
provide, the museum group will be in a stronger position both individually and as a collective to
develop joint projects such as the federated fundraising project originally proposed.

MLAY is now waiting to hear the outcome of fundraising applications to enable the development
programme to be rolled out across the partnership group. Regardless of the outcome of these
submissions, the partnership group has taken decisive steps towards identifying and removing
the barriers to sustainability experienced by voluntary run independent museums.

Benefits of partnership working and mutual support

SHARING NOT ONLY EXPERIENCES BUT SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE – AND


LEARNING TOGETHER AND SUPPORTING EACH OTHER HAS BEEN AN
IMPORTANT ASPECT OF COLNE VALLEY MUSEUM’S PAST AND MUST BE A
VALUABLE PART OF THE SUSTAINABILITY OF ALL LIKE ORGANISATIONS

Duncan Beaumont, Colne Valley Museum

The first meetings between the museums group have demonstrated the potential of the
partnership, a potential that will only be fully recognised as the project progresses. One of the
problems of developing partnership working with this type of small independent voluntary
organisations is that it can be difficult to stick to maintain direction on a discreet project during
group meetings because there are so many issues affecting the partners. However, as the MLAY
team have seen how the museums interact together and witnessed their enthusiasm to share ideas
and practice, it has proved to be really satisfying as the museums currently have no other forum
for this type of exchange.

The MMM programme has been based around the concept of mutual self-help and the value that
that brings. Crucially for MLAY, the programme has enabled the creation of a partnership between
independent museums that will focus on organisational development. Even at this early stage of
the partnership, the participant museums recognise the potential this network has to facilitate
skills sharing, problem solving and for maximising opportunities amongst members. The creation
of the partnership with a strong focus on development should help maintain the trajectory of

MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 14


achieving sustainability, a process that will be accelerated once the training courses launch later
this year.

CERTAIN PROBLEMS AND PRACTICAL ISSUES ARE COMMON TO MOST


SMALL MUSEUMS SO POOLING KNOWLEDGE WOULD BE GOOD. ‘IN A
PARTNERSHIP’ SOUNDS A BIT DAUNTING BUT INFORMAL MEETINGS WITH
LIKE MINDED PEOPLE COULD GIVE US ALL CONFIDENCE AND IDEAS AND
LEAD TO SOMETHING MORE FORMAL.

Margaret Hornby, Otley Museum

Achieving sustainability

The MMM project has enabled museums in the West Yorkshire, Harrogate and Craven area to
make progress towards becoming sustainable. By focusing on their development needs in
relation to a recognized national standard, the museums have been able to target their resources
on areas of identified need. The ability of MLAY to provide a Museum Development Officer for
this geographic area has given the museums access to specialist support throughout this
process. MLAY is now confident that these museums are in a better position to meet the
Accreditation Standard, which in itself demonstrates their progress towards becoming high
quality sustainable organisations.

MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 15


The return

The call to action The trials Wise advisors The prizes The return

Now that MLA Yorkshire have arrived at end of their time with MMM, what have been the
benefits, effects and inspirations of their involvement?

Following the establishment of the partnership and the creation of the development programme,
MLA Yorkshire has been able to identify four key benefits of their involvement with MMM. These
benefits affect not only MLA Yorkshire and the emerging partnership, but also the wider museum
sector and the community at large:

• Through working with MMM, MLA Yorkshire has been able to increase its capacity to
engage with and look after a broader range of its member museums. This has enabled
interventions in West Yorkshire, Harrogate and Craven to focus on supporting
development, whereas previously the team had primarily monitored standards and
responded to crises.
• Following the experience of creating the partnership, tackling development issues and
exploring fundraising opportunities, the museums of West Yorkshire, Harrogate and
Craven will be able to build on their success. This process will have given them the skills
to take on larger, longer and more complex projects and programmes of work
• MLA Yorkshire has created an embryonic mechanism for undertaking partnership
fundraising projects with and for small museum organisations. Already the Museum
Development Officer for East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire has been able to use
this model to raise £7,000 to support a development programme for museums in
Holderness.
• Ultimately, the benefit of MLAY’s involvement with MMM will be experienced by the
communities of, and visitors to, Yorkshire. By helping museums work towards
sustainability, the activities of MMM and MLAY have ensured that there is a more secure
future for Yorkshire’s heritage held in trust by these organisations.

These consequences clearly demonstrates the additional value that involvement with MMM was
able to bring.

Further resources related this story

Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell (1946)


Linking Mission and Money, Nonprofit Finance Fund (2001)
Renaissance in the Regions: a new vision for England’s museums, Resource (2001)
A pocket guide to Renaissance, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (2006)
MLA website, www.mla.gov.uk
MLA Yorkshire website, www.mlayorkshire.org.uk

MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 16


Mission, Models and Money

Now that we have come to the end of MLA Yorkshire’s story with MMM, what has been the effect
of the project to date on the interdependent areas of mission, models and money?

The ‘Valuing Volunteers: Small Museums Development Project’ is in the


early stages of implementation and will run for up to 12 months. The
benefits of both the project and the partnership will develop during this
time. The impact of the ‘Valuing Volunteers: Small Museums
Development Project’ on the museums community is already being
demonstrated with a further Federated Fundraising project being
piloted by the Museum Development Officer for East Yorkshire and
Northern Lincolnshire.

The value of working together in a partnership has already been felt by


the seven organisations involved in the ‘Valuing Volunteers’ project
who have benefited from sharing experiences and best practice in the
initial project stages. The ultimate impact on the mission of the
museums is that the participants are now in a better position to secure
a sustainable future for the heritage of the region and its communities
Mission

Models Money
The project provided MLAY with an Two funding applications have been submitted
opportunity to transfer and reinterpret an to a lottery distributor and the Association for
intervention model into a new environment Independent Museums to support a skills
where organisations had traditionally worked development programme at both a trustee and
in isolation and had been unable to benefit volunteer level. The outcome of these bids will
from development focused investment. By be known in June.
the end of the process, participant museums
will have embedded new concepts of Already the piloting of the partnership model
sustainability, fundraising and capacity has been able to produce real financial returns
building into their forward planning. in other parts of the Yorkshire region. The
Museum Development Officer for East
The project has also given MLA Yorkshire the Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire has raised
chance to work with a wider range of museum £7,000 to support organisational development
organisations in the West Yorkshire, Harrogate work with small museums in Holderness.
and Craven areas in a more meaningful
fashion. The presence of a Museum The financial impact in terms of money going
Development Officer in the area has also directly into the organisations via the setting
given MLAY the capacity to engage more up and running of the project will be modest,
effectively with the voluntary sector but for small organisations this level of
infrastructure agencies. investment can deliver a big change. Modest
investment of this type will act as a catalyst for
further organisational development and future
fundraising activity, maximising the
longitudinal impact of MLAY’s work.

MLA Yorkshire: MMM exemplar case study 17