Since we began our consulting practice in 2004 we have been providing a wide variety of services for downtown clients. Here is a list of our most popular services. Below this list are click throughs of some of our sample documents, plans, workshops and articles.

Strategic Plans for Downtown Organizations

Heritage Consulting Inc. uses a four-phase process to create strategic plans for downtown clients. We begin with a Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, and Opportunities Assessment Workshop, where stakeholders are invited to discuss the organization and the downtown in small group setting. Using information from this event, we conduct an online survey of downtown shoppers to gain their feedback on existing events, programs, physical condition of the district and amounts spent on dining and shopping downtown, and the business mix. This information is summarized into a report of 120-160 pages. We seek more than 400 survey responses to provide a rich analysis of shopper attitudes. Finally, we conduct a Visioning and Goal Setting Workshop with stakeholders to identify key strategies and projects for the future. All this information is distilled into a new five-year draft Strategic Plan which is created and discussed with the Board. The final Strategic Plan contains a revised mission statement, a new vision statement and a handful of key goals and tasks that define the organization’s and the downtown’s preferred future.

Board Training on Roles and Responsibilities in Downtown Organizations

One of Heritage Consulting Inc. most requested services is board training on roles and responsibilities for downtown revitalization organizations. We discuss the legal responsibilities of state charted nonprofit corporations and review how boards live out these duties on a day to day basis. We discuss the role of the board versus the staff and how individual board members can best contribute to the life of the organization. We conclude with advice about how to be a better nonprofit board member.

Heritage Tourism Assessments for Downtown Clients

For downtown organizations that want more heritage visitors, Heritage Consulting Inc. provides an assessment of the current downtown visitor experience.  We review the physical condition of the downtown (restoration quality, maintenance), its public amenities (restrooms, parking, handicapped accessibility, wayfinding), how the downtown is interpreted (brochures, interpretive plaques, visitor website, docent led tours, events) and marketing (website, promotion, paid advertising).  From this review, we write a final report with recommendations on both long and short term projects to boost the quality and amount of heritage visitors to downtown.

Design Guidelines for Downtowns

Heritage Consulting Inc. provides Design Guidelines for downtown organizations. These documents are created for a local revitalization organization when they offer matching grants or other incentives to encourage restoration and rehabilitation of storefronts, and new signs and awnings. Our guidelines use the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation as the baseline for recommended and not recommended treatments of storefronts, upper stories, signs, awnings, entrances, cornices and other building features found in downtowns. Design Guidelines are heavily illustrated with examples from the downtown, and include a glossary, bibliography and brief history of the downtown to provide context.  

Keynote speeches

For the last dozen years, we have spoken at statewide and national conferences about our two major research interests:  downtowns and historic sites. For the last dozen years, we have spoken every year at the National Main Street Conference on a variety of fundraising topics, and about board development and recruitment. We have spoken at 35 regional, statewide and national conferences about historic sites since the publication of our book New Solutions for House Museums: Ensuring the Long-Term Preservation of America’s Historic Houses was published by AltaMira Press in 2007.  Contact us to discuss a topic for your upcoming conference. Recent talks have been: What is a successful downtown organization? And “Fundraising Myths and Realities for Downtown Organizations.”

Training Workshops for Downtown Organizations

Since Heritage Consulting Inc. began in 2004 we have been providing training workshops for downtown organizations. We have amassed more than 75 different training programs for downtown organizations over the years and are happy to provide our list of workshops to you. These workshops are lively and highly interactive and include at least one hands on exercise for participants to use the information they have learned immediately. We also provide extensive resources, such as articles, sample documents, check lists and a bibliography for each of our presentations on CD.


Board Retreats

Heritage Consulting Inc. has organized and led board retreats to discuss annual work plans and future plans since we began our practice in 2004. We create an advance agenda, reading lists for participants and often include an advance survey of participants to assure that the limited hours of the retreat can best be focused on the most critical issues facing the organization. We use a variety of facilitation techniques for the retreat to be certain that all voices are heard and that a specific action agenda results. We provide a written memo with recommendations for board review soon after the retreat.

Conference Facilitation

We have helped various organizations over the years to convene retreats or summits to explore common concerns in a group setting. We work with the conference organizers to provide an agenda, gather pre-conference information to share, and facilitate discussion among the participants using panels, small group round tables, questionnaires or full group discussions.

New Coaching Service

Do you or your Board President need one on one coaching and feedback to make a real difference in your downtown?  We are launching a new coaching service this fall for downtown leaders wanting more specialized help to deal with a specific board or organizational struggle. Clients purchase five hours of time to be used in half hour increments over a year on a variety of organizational development topics of your choosing. Use these phone/Skype calls to find solutions for specific problems or in advance of Board meetings smooth out uncomfortable conversations. Contact us if you want to learn more about this new service at donna@heritageconsultinginc.com