In January 2016, Candice McClendon joined the County Historical Commission (CHC) Outreach Program at the Texas Historical Commission (THC). Her first task was to coordinate regional orientations, which allowed her to discuss CHC challenges with appointees across the state. Candice noticed that many CHCs struggle to build effective partnerships with other organizations. Wanting to learn more about partnerships, she spent the fall of 2016 meeting with chairs and reading CHC reports to try and understand what CHC Outreach could do to help appointees. Photo: Candice McClendon (center) attends discussion group at a CHC Orientation in Austin.
What we learned from CHCs
Building constructive relationships within the community is a vital contributor to organizational success, yet some CHCs don’t prioritize partner maintenance and development. Many appointees believe they already have effective relationships throughout the county, so they don’t look for ways to improve partnerships and find new partners.
Diversifying organizational relationships increases organizational capacity for a CHC––robust collaboration enables a CHC to consider and execute new ideas and events that can’t be accomplished using only CHC appointees.
To understand how CHCs navigate relationship building, CHC Outreach met with chairs who work effectively with a variety of groups outside of the CHC. A common theme emerged from these conversations that reflected what we learned about CHC partnerships from reading CHC annual reports. High-performing CHCs develop partnership strategies.
Through our research, we have a better understanding of how much effort goes into cultivating quality partnerships. We also have a better understanding of what is gained by investing CHC time to sustain these partnerships over time. Photo: Tom Green CHC hosts regional meetings so CHCs can learn more about preservation efforts in the region.
Why partnerships are important
CHCs promote an awareness of the cultural heritage surrounding its community and participate in developing programs that enrich the understanding of the history of Texas. This mission is challenging, even more so when pursued solely with CHC organizational resources.
The chairs with whom we met agreed that the best way to accomplish the CHC mission is to partner with other organizations and individuals outside the CHC.
Expanding partnerships increases the following:
- Visibility in the community
- Awareness of community history and heritage
- Interest and support for CHC
- Pool of potential appointees
- Resources (e.g., people, funding, etc.)
- Support from county commissioners court
- Educational opportunities for the community and CHC
- Diversifies outreach opportunities
Evaluating what relationships should be established or expanded is necessary to accomplish the important role CHCs play in the preservation of our collective history and heritage.
CHC Outreach staff will spend 2017 sharing the lessons we've learned associated with expanding partnership networks and post that information below. Check this page each month for recommendations!
What it means to have a constructive partnership with the THC.
Why developing and maintaing partnerships with the THC is important.
How to improve communication with the THC.
Building partnerships with history-related organizations.
Advantages of partnering with history-related organizations.
Improving partnerships with history-related organizations.
Building partnerships with communities.
Constuctive partnerships with county officials.
Partnering with higher education institutions.
Building partnerships with CVBs and Chambers.
Learn more about what the CHC Outreach Program does for CHCs here.