Cornwall Museums Partnership - PESTLE
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An Introduction to PESTLE

The goals of this session are to help you to:

  • Understand what PESTLE is.
  • Learn why PESTLE can be useful in helping to build a better museum.
  • Get started with your PESTLE analysis.
  • Apply PESTLE analysis to help grow your museum.

So, what is PESTLE?

PESTLE is an acronym for a tool used to identify the external forces that affect an organisation:


When used in conjunction with a SWOT analysis, a PESTLE will help you identify the factors that you need to take into account to help your organisation or project reach its goals. PESTLE helps support effective strategic planning and decision making by helping you focus on key issues efficiently, effectively and in a proactive way.

Starting your first PESTLE analysis...

Anything can be daunting the first time you do it, and it's tough to see why you would want to until you see the results, so for the moment, just trust that it's a good thing to do.

  • Start by deciding the target of your PESTLE, is it for your organisation as a whole or for a particular project?
  • Next, divide a large piece of paper into six rows and two columns. Label the first column Opportunities and the second column Threats. Then label each row with one of the PESTLE forces: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental. Alternatively, if you'd prefer, download and print this template.
  • Working as a team, start to populate the twelve sectors. Research your competition and the environment in which you’re operating. You’ll need to make sure that you’re gathering hard facts and not just hearsay or rumour.
  • Decide as a team what factors will affect your organisation.

Ask searching questions

To help you complete your PESTLE, ask some searching questions:

  • How stable is political landscape – is there likely to be a change of government or local council soon and what impact might that have?
  • Are exchange rates stable, is the economy growing or are we in recession. Will this impact visitor numbers from home or abroad? Does it favour one nation over another?
  • How much disposable income, time and energy do your visitors have to spend?
  • What technologies do you have at your disposal and are you making the most of them. Is there a technology that might enhance or detract from the visitor experience?
  • Do you have good public transport links? Are the links likely to improve or get cut? Are increasing travel costs going to affect us?

Some ideas to get you started

If you are struggling to get started, maybe take some inspiration from this PESTLE:




Local developer looking to deliver housing project with associated planning gain in support of local community facilities.

National Government funding reduced for culture and heritage.


Growing overseas visitors due to weak pound.

Increasingly competitive fundraising landscape.


Strong community links.

High profile charity scandals have damaged reputation of all charities.


4G widely available

Digital marketing and fundraising creates opportunities to reach beyond local area.

Visitor expectations of quality interactive engagement is growing.


Changes to the national curriculum.


Changing legislation.


Awareness of the importance of reduced carbon footprint and the benefits of staycations.

Weather impacts on visitor numbers.

Over to you

So, what are your next steps...

  • Prioritise your lists, checking which factors are most relevant to your organisation.
  • Now ask yourself how your organisation can make the most of the opportunities that you’ve identified as well as how to forward plan for the threats.
  • You can now use the SWOT and PESTLE analysis to help develop your strategic business plan, budget, fundraising strategies etc.

I'm done :-)

Created in Cornwall with Harlequin Training Solutions Ltd