Case Study

Inspiring More Minds: Enhancing a Leading Museum’s Education Program

Topics in this Case Study :

Nonprofit Strategy

Censeo worked with a prominent American museum to position its education program for greater national impact.

Executive Summary

The client, a leading American museum, reached out to Censeo to help enhance and expand its education program. Censeo worked closely with museum leadership to identify outcomes-driven program opportunities, and crafted a multi-phase implementation plan with the aim to reach more people directly through interactive technology and exhibits, classes, and digital materials. The museum is now moving forward with a clearly-defined strategy that will help it connect more people to impactful educational experiences.

Situation

Censeo’s client is a highly-visited, nationally-renowned museum that aspires to improve the national impact of its broader education program. The client seeks to provide informal education opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), the arts, and design. On the eve of a transformative, large-scale renovation, the museum partnered with Censeo to create a bold, multi-year education strategy that focused its programs, linked them to desired learning outcomes, leveraged the museum’s core strengths, and increased the number of people reached.

Approach

Censeo took a four-step approach to outline a strategic plan for the museum:

  1. Define mission, outcomes, and priorities – reach alignment on the museum’s definition of success for education, including its mission, objectives, goals, and long-term performance metrics for future-state education programming
  2. Prioritize where to focus – determine high-significance focus areas that the museum’s education program should pursue, including prioritizing target customers, selecting the manner or vehicle through customers engage with the education program, and determining locations to align customers and education programming
  3. Determine how to execute – list the capabilities required to execute each education priority, identifying the gaps faced by the museum to execute requirements, and prioritizing next steps for the museum to consider
  4. Build an implementation roadmap – identify key tasks that need to be accomplished to successfully pursue each target customer group as well as key milestones for the museum to assess progress

 

Throughout all steps of the process, Censeo used a collaborative approach, consulting with a variety of stakeholders. More than 35 internal museum stakeholders were interviewed, including educators, digital outreach specialists, curators, and advancement team members. Other leading museums and education organizations were consulted to get industry-wide perspective. The resulting strategy balanced internal perspectives with external best practices.

Results

Censeo supported the museum in the development of a clear mission statement, creation of specific goals to support the mission, and identification of target customers. The team then delineated priorities that clearly tied together the target customers, engagement vehicles, and geographic focus necessary to accomplish the stated goals. Finally, Censeo created an implementation plan that outlined the critical steps needed to realize the strategic vision and provided key milestones for management to keep implementation on track. 

 

The strategic planning process facilitated by Censeo helped us really move beyond current assumptions and consider ‘what if?’ We aligned on a mission and exciting set of goals that we plan to share with our employees, donors, and the broader public. Beyond that, we also have a practical path forward to ensure we’re taking the necessary strides to accomplish those goals.

 

Upon concluding, the Censeo team developed a number of short-term imperatives for the museum to consider including:

  • Outlining a consistent process for program identification, development, and execution;
  • Developing a more robust measurement and evaluation approach; and
  • Assessing donor interest in the strategic plan.

 

The museum is now moving forward with a precisely-defined, actionable strategic plan that will connect people with the educational experiences that will help them discover their interests and inspire them to pursue their dreams.

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