By Paul Born, President, Tamarack, An Institute for Community EngagementA museum is a valuable community asset and deserves financial support. Good engagement strategies can make fundraising far more effective.
Top five ideas to consider:
1. Access and information: To get donations, people need to be informed of your service, and you need the ability to send the information to them. When meeting someone new, be it a new member, visitor to your museum, or just buying a ticket to a fundraiser, always get their e-mail address and permission to send them your newsletter and special announcements. Be creative and relentless in this pursuit.
2. Be intentional: Create a prospective donors list. This is how we identify our potential partners. We create intent. Next, do your homework on that individual or company- what are their interests, goals, views, etc.? Third, pay them a visit. Not to ask for money, but to build the relationship. Once a relationship is established, asking for money is much easier and the reception is generally far more positive.
3. Deepen relationships: Identify prospective donors through your activity lists. Consider people you are already connected with through your newsletter or memberships lists, or those who attend your events. Another simple way is to look at donor thank-you pages and lists published by other organizations.
4. Take the time: stop thinking about raising funds and instead take the time to build a relationship. Engagement does the work of building members into donors. Once people are engaged you can ask for their help, and as your ‘friend’, they will most often be agreeable.
5. Engagement is not only the role for one worker in a museum. It is a way of thinking and acting for an entire organization.