AIM Higher governance support programme

AIM Higher – the new name for Prospering Boards

Good governance is key to well-run, successful museums yet being a trustee can sometimes feel daunting. AIM offers practical, hands-on support to help your board develop and your museum thrive.

Whether your museum is already confident about its governance or if you are facing hard decisions about your future, we are happy to help. Following the AIM Hallmarks, AIM Higher aims to develop museum boards where:

All trustees are proactive advocates for the organisation and its purpose. They focus on strategic and significant issues. They avoid conflicts of interest and always wear only one hat at a time. The trustees and senior staff or volunteers understand their different roles and work well together towards the purpose.

Participating boards will receive one-to-one support from a specialist consultant, who will work with the board to identify and address areas for development.

The programme is open to AIM member museums in England and Wales. Applicant museums will usually either be Accredited or working towards Accreditation. We are also able to offer support to non-Accredited museums where they can demonstrate that the support will enable them to move forward to apply for Accreditation. We give priority to museums that are not NPOs.

Type of support

We can provide two days of online support. In 2021 we supported museums with:

  • Introduction to good governance and the role of the board
  • Trustee roles and responsibilities
  • Succession planning and trustee recruitment
  • Diversifying boards
  • Basic good governance reviews
  • Constitutional review and conversion to CIO
  • Policy review.

We are also able to support boards with strategic planning for your museum: For example:

  • Strategic and business planning
  • Fundraising
  • Engagement with audiences
  • Managing relationships with key stakeholders.

We can also provide more bespoke consultancies so if your Board of Trustees would like help in any other way then please get in touch.

How does it work?

Museums considering an application should contact AIM’s Head of Programmes, Margaret Harrison, for a preliminary discussion: margaret@aim-museums.co.uk.

If we can support your request, we will put you in touch with one of our consultants for an initial exploratory discussion after which we’ll ask you to fill in a short application form. In addition to basic details about your museum we will ask you :

  • What are the main areas of focus for developing your Board?
  • The agreed scope of work with the consultant and timetable for this
  • How will you ensure that all Trustees are engaged with this process?
  • What are the outcomes you would like to achieve?

This programme is very popular and we expect your museum to demonstrate a commitment to taking part. All applications must be supported by the Chair of Trustees. We also expect you to keep to agreed timescales in working with your consultant. Each consultancy costs AIM £1,200 and we welcome financial contributions of any size towards this.

Successful applicants will be required to confirm that they accept our Terms and Conditions and complete an end of project report with their consultant. We will also ask you to take part in any evaluation we may carry out and if possible, share your experiences through a case study.

Our consultants:

We have a large pool of consultants, based across England, with a diverse range of skills and experience. If you would particularly like to work with a specific consultant, do let us know.

Click here to see the list of Prospering Boards consultants>>

Applications are assessed on a rolling basis for as long as funding remains available. If you’re considering an application, we would urge you to get in touch sooner rather than later!

Applications will be assessed by AIM staff and referred to AIM Board of Trustees if appropriate. We may also discuss your application with colleagues in Museum Development, if appropriate.