Skip to main content

Cultural Heritage Program – Program Category - supporting documents

If you apply to the Program Category of the Cultural Heritage Program, you will need to submit a copy of your organisation's current business plan as part of your application.

Mandatory items of support material for your application must not exceed 65 pages, including your business plan. Excess pages will not to be forwarded to the panel for assessment.

Your business plan should include a marketing or promotional plan. If you have a separate marketing/promotional plan, please submit it with your application.

Below is a list of topics that should be covered in your business plan and marketing/promotional plan.

Business plan

History and achievements

Your business plan should include a brief overview summarising when your organisation was set up, for what reason and the impact of significant achievements, events and milestones that your organisation instigated or reacted to over the years.

Internal and external analysis

Your business plan should include a concise evaluation of your organisation as it is now. It should highlight strengths while acknowledging weaknesses or challenges. It could include a couple of stories that highlight the real impacts you have made in recent years (e.g. an international conference or tour, unexpected national exposure, discovering emerging talent etc.). You should also consider the human, physical and financial resources that are available to you or that will be needed to deliver your program.

You should also include information relating to your external situation as it is now – concentrating on positive opportunities while remembering potential threats. You may choose to articulate key trends and issues affecting the environment in which your organisation exists – now and in the immediate future. These will probably include any social, technical, environmental, economic, political, legal, or cultural heritage sector trends.


Your business plan should expand on your organisation's vision and mission by describing what you would like your organisation to achieve within the time frame covered. When it comes to setting your goals, stay focused and don't set too many at the same time.

Goals should be:

  • specific – each goal should outline one clear objective
  • achievable – you need to be able to meet your goals with the resources available to you
  • measureable – you should be able to identify when you have achieved your goals by setting key performance indicators (KPIs) to keep track of them
  • relevant – goals should relate to your organisation's purpose, current situation and the environment in which you operate
  • time-bound – you should indicate the point at which you would expect to achieve your goals.

As a cultural heritageorganisation, your goals may cover the areas of artistic/cultural/service program, operations and governance, financial, audience and engagement.


Your business plan should outline your organisation's current strategies. Strategies are the steps your organisation will take or the things that your organisation will do to achieve its goals. Your strategies are not a statement of your day-to-day activities and they are different to your program. In terms of your organisation's development, you could think of a strategy as an activity that will bring about a change or a benefit.

As an example, strategies could include:

  • develop partnerships or collaborations
  • pursue new sources of income
  • collect data and/or conduct research
  • implement new technologies, or
  • target new audiences/audiences.

Key Performance Indicators

There are many ways to measure the progress of an organisation and its achievements. Your business plan should feature a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that identify the success factors for your whole organisation or for specific activities that you will focus on throughout the time frame covered by your business plan. KPIs are often quantitative figures that can be defined in numerical terms.

Although it can be more difficult to track qualitative performance indicators (such as 'positive feedback' or 'cultural heritage recognition'), effective measures for this kind of information are certainly appropriate and may be very important for your organisation.

How to identify your KPIs

  • Identify those things (processes/products/services) that are critical to your organisations success.
  • Then work out how you can measure those things.
  • Look at how you have achieved in these areas to date. Then assign targets for those areas that are in line with your future plans (ensuring that they are measurable and achievable goals).
  • Then monitor and manage them to then track the progress of your business in those key areas. E.g. monthly reporting of your KPIs to your board.

Risk management plan

Your business plan should identify any major obstacles to achieving your program and reaching your organisational goals. When planning your program, you should consider what could go wrong and whether you are making assumptions that could be proven to be incorrect.

Your risk management plan should demonstrate:

  • probability of potential risks
  • impact of potential risks
  • strategies to mitigate potential risks.

Organisational structure

Your business plan should include an organisational chart or information that describes roles and responsibilities for each position and to whom they report.

Financial plan

Your business plan should contain a financial plan which will be complimentary to your application budget.

The financial plan should contain:

  • an assessment of your organisation's current financial situation (where are we now); and
  • a vision of the financial situation at the end of the period covered by the business plan (where do we want to be).

Board and governance

Your business plan should contain a list of your board members, the skills they bring to the board and specific role(s), if any, that they have on the board. It should give a clear indication of the demarcation between the board and executive staff and detail any delegations of responsibility.

Marketing/promotional plan

Your marketing plan should be realistic, achievable and strategic and demonstrate a thorough understanding of your target audiences. It should also include an explanation of your marketing goals and the strategies that will be used to achieve your KPIs.

Your marketing plan should flow logically from and expand on the analysis within your business plan.

Details of audiences

Your marketing plan should detail your existing and/or potential audiences. An audience is any broad collection of people who share common characteristics, values, behaviours or needs. You can have potential audiences (people you would like to have a relationship with) or existing audiences (people who already share an interest in, or a connection with, your organisation). These may include visitors, ticket buyers, workshop participants, clients, referrals, members, volunteers, funding bodies, sponsors and philanthropists.

Defining current audiences

Your marketing plan should define your current audiences, based on research or facts. You should describe your market in terms of the key common factors that bind each group (e.g. young adults who respond to the latest trends in new media). It may be that demographic factors such as education level, income and age are not as important as other factors such as hobbies or attitudes.

Clarify what you offer your audiences

Your marketing plan should clarify what you offer to your existing and potential audiences. To encourage regular engagement with your organisation, people need to feel welcomed and benefit from their experience of your organisation. Your particular environment and internal strengths must be exploited to give your audience(s) an experience, service or an object that they feel no other organisation can offer. Your marketing plan should pinpoint the experience that your organisation offers and how it is unique from your audiences' perspective (i.e. the emotional, physical, social benefits and value you deliver to them).

Choose the strategic direction your organisation wishes to take with regards to audiences

Your marketing plan should consider whether you want to increase existing audiences or if you want to focus on diversifying your audiences. You should take into account what is feasible within the resources available to your organisation. Your marketing plan should consider partners you will work with to achieve your goals and expand your audiences (e.g. like-minded organisations, local businesses, international organisations and sponsors, etc.).


Your marketing plan should consider who, or what else, competes for your audiences' time, attention, interest and money (e.g. other forms of entertainment such as watching television or playing sport, on-line communities, hobbies). What prevents your organisation from achieving its goals? Are current funding partners directing their money elsewhere? Use research that you may already have. Bear in mind that other organisations may help increase the local desire for cultural heritage, rather than compete for your audiences' time.

Your marketing plan should demonstrate:

  • an understanding of target audiences (existing and potential)
  • the responsiveness of programing to target audiences (and where relevant, segments)
  • evidence of market research.

You may also wish to cover communications, promotion, sponsorship and philanthropy within your business or marketing plans.