About The Author

David Grabitske

David Grabitske is the manager of outreach services at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Education Outreach at the Minnesota Historical Society recently took a survey of how history education works at local historical organizations in our state. One of the more compelling statistics that emerged from those that answered relates to financially planning to accomplish mission. One of the questions was whether or not the organization had a line item in its budget for school tours. Forty-two percent said that they did. A later question asked for an estimate of the number of school children served on tours. Of those served, 82 percent of all of the children went to an organization that had a line item in its budget for school tours. This seems to indicate the usefulness of intentional planning to accomplish goals that further mission.

What goals have you specifically planned to accomplish through your budget? Is there any success that seems to work without the organization having to cultivate the activity?

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One Response to Spend money to meet mission

  1. Jada says:

    Just completed at the Hennepin History Museum is a program we created called Junior Docents. For this pilot year project we had a lump sum in our education line due to many unknowns that would only be realized after trying it out on a group kids. The program didn’t come out ahead in dollars but the public support has been so strong that we anticipate successful funding for 2010.

    Prior to ’09 the museum saw a decline in field trips due to the expenses associated with busses so we decided to try something completely different. The six month Junior Docent program allowed a diverse group of kids to participate in a broad range of experiences that they would not otherwise have had the chance to do. Junior Docents worked with schools to create a free hands-on program for kids that could not be duplicated outside the museum setting. Our mission and their education continue as the program’s graduates go into the classrooms and educate other students. Although we didn’t reach as many kids as we would through field trips, we were able to send 10 very proud ambassadors into the community.

    As we wrap up the results from year one we are looking for ways to translate our success into dollars. We received a lot of exposure (and certainly several new memberships), but can the program have more than intangible benefits? In 2008 we did not have a line item for school tours or education specifically (education was the responsibility of several departments), but because we are educating kids in a way that fits into our facility, budget, and mission, we are able to budget a lot more specifically for education in 2010. We also hope to add an additional track, and 10 more additional kids, to the program.


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