Improving Partnerships with History-Related Organizations

County Historical Commissions (CHC) and history- and preservation-related organizations share common missions, making their partnerships particularly robust. The success of these mutually-beneficial efforts leads to more and better partnership opportunities. Improving these relationships exponentially expands preservation efforts in your region. 

Initiate Proactive Planning

Maintaining healthy partnerships relies on timely and constructive communication. Consider selecting representatives from each partner organization to meet on a regular basis to discuss upcoming events and ways each organization can contribute. Many counties appoint members of area history and preservation organizations to serve on the CHC to ensure this type of planning takes place. Likewise, you can encourage CHC appointees to serve on boards of area organizations.

Click here for examples of proactive planning involving CHC partnerships.

A well-informed preservation community coordinates the timing of trainings and outreach events. Collaborative planning prevents overlapping events and duplicating projects. This proactive preparation also allows the CHC and partner organizations to participate in one another’s events.

Identify Non-Traditional Partners

There are several organizations that, while not history-focused, like history-related topics. These groups fall outside traditional CHC partnerships (with museums and historical societies) but can be just as advantageous in terms of their ability to complement CHC events. Consider the type of event you’re planning and what organizations have direct and indirect ties to its theme. You'll find that many potential partners, like Women’s Demonstration Clubs and 4-H, have rich organizational histories that are already woven into the history of your county. 

Click here to read how one CHC included traditional partners (heritage society and Main Street) and non-traditional partners (vintage car clubs) in a highway history themed celebration.  

Find creative ways to diversify organizational ties to history in your county. Identify these non-traditional partners and discuss the ways in which these partners can play meaningful roles in your programs. This partnering approach enables partner organizations to pursue individual missions while helping the CHC pursue its mission.

Invite Participation in CHC Events

There are a variety of ways that partners can become involved in CHC events. While some may volunteer, other organizations and individuals need to be invited. Enlist them to play a role in event development or ask them to suggest a role that is relevant to their area of expertise. Take the initiative to develop a richer, more rewarding experience for your patrons by involving others in event activities.

Click here to see how CHCs can offer bigger and better events by including other history organizations and individuals who are interested in history.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or invite others into your planning processes. Remember that other organizations are looking for ways to highlight their work and boost patronage. Work together to tell the collective story of your county so that all organizations feel respected and valued by the CHC.

Diversify CHC Participation with Partners

Use partnership opportunities to showcase CHC work and appointee expertise. Supporting partner events and providing services to the community shows a willingness to contribute and promotes preservation in your county. Furthering the missions of history-related organizations advances the CHC’s mission.

At times, CHCs need to take the lead to plan and facilitate an event but other times, all that’s needed to demonstrate support for a partner is to serve as audience member at a partner’s event. In addition to strengthening existing relationships, attending events is an excellent way to network and identify potential partners for future projects.

Click here for project examples that illustrate different degrees of CHC participation when partnering with history-related organizations.

Prove your CHC’s worth by contributing in small and substantial ways. Whether a one-day clean up or an ongoing preservation project, provide a helping hand whenever able. Unlike other partnership endeavors, history-related organizations will pursue projects that align with your mission, so you’ll get more bang for your partnership buck.


More about Preservation month here.

Complete history-related partnership information found here.

To review THC partnership information, click here