Museums in Distress


A recent story on NPR's All Things Considered showcased just how much in financial distress many museums around the country are. A portion of the annual budget had, poof, disappeared, with the collapse of the financial institution.

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What Would YOU Do? (Case Study: Nonprofit Communications)

Getting Attention

What and your colleagues labored for years to fund, design and (finally) open your highly-visible museum (or cause/issue-focused organization)? What if —because the museum’s reason for being is so close to folks’ hearts and heads—the design and build is highly scrutinized for the many years it takes to launch? Or—really— because the museum’s focus is SO sensitive. That without these revenue streams, there would be no Museum.

How to research your audience if you have no budget for consultants

Nonprofit Marketing Blog

If you have no research budget at all, try to glean what you can from those around you in your daily work. If we work at a museum, we can observe the people coming in the door. A reader of this blog, Joe, asked me the following question in response to my post on diagnosing message problems. He says: Can you point us toward some resources for understanding our audiences’ mindsets? Good questions to ask, good ways to ask questions, etc.

Arts Funding Crisis in the UK

JCA Insights

Unlike in the States, where there is a culture of fundraising and private support for the arts, the UK has long subsidized its arts community with free admission to many museums and heavy subsidies for non-profit theatres. In theatres, where government support can account for 50% or more, there will be huge holes in their budgets should national and local support go to zero – a real possibility given current budget discussions.

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Communicate NOW on Govt. Shutdown Impact (Case Study)

Getting Attention

OPPORTUNITY ALERT: I urge you to leverage the shutdown in right-now fundraising and advocacy campaigns if the shutdown has increased the demand for your services and/or threatened your budget and ability to continue providing services.

Newsletter: Survey Results for SEO & Corporate Partnerships ; Chief Fans Raise the Flag for a Cause, Raise $323K ; Should Pot Companies be Allowed to Sponsor-a-Highway

Selfish Giving

Our budget is close to $2M so I don't know where these prioritized decisions come from." Again, I think I know why: "Our institution (art/history museum) is not well-versed in Here are the results from the snap survey you took last month on SEO and corporate partnerships.

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Part 2: Rebrand to Connect—Red Rover Tells All (Case Study)

Getting Attention

How a Museum Re-Branded Itself to Boost Visitors by 600% (Case Study). How a Small Nonprofit Shaped a Clear, Memorable Brand – Five Steps to Low-Budget Branding for Big Results (Case Study). Read Part One first.

Rebrand to Connect: Red Rover Tells All (Case Study-Part 1)

Getting Attention

How a Museum Re-Branded Itself to Boost Visitors by 600% (Case Study). How a Small Nonprofit Shaped a Clear, Memorable Brand – Five Steps to Low-Budget Branding for Big Results (Case Study). Within the first five minutes of meeting Leili Khalessi last year, I learned that she and her colleagues were in the process of rebranding their organization, including a new name.

The Southern Oregon Historical Society Has Raised Some Eyebrows. What Could They Have Done Differently?

Seeking Grant Money Today

Nonprofits sometimes offer us interesting news, like, Indian Artifacts A Tough Sell for SOHS published December 4, 2011 by the Southern Oregon region's Mail Tribune and written by Damian Mann which details another example of a nonprofit's leadership making a decision to raise money through a method that has others in the museum's community at large, concerned. The items were donated to the museum in 1957 by a Grants Pass, Oregon resident, Benjamin Bones, according to the paper.

Newsletter: How to Promote Your Partnerships with Facebook ; United Way, Lyft Expand Free Ride Program ; How Anthony Bourdain Gave Back to Causes

Selfish Giving

Create a Facebook ad and set a budget to specifically target these email subscribers (aka your supporters). Stewardship Coordinator, Corporate and Foundation Giving, The Field Museum (Chicago) **Have your cause-related job featured here for FREE. Here's a fact for you.

Grants for Western Hemisphere Native or Hawaiian Native Artists

Seeking Grant Money Today

Deadline: January 15, 2010 National Museum of the American Indian Invites Applications for Indigenous Contemporary Arts Program The National Museum of the American Indian 's Indigenous Contemporary Arts Program offers support to a wide range of arts activities with the goal of increasing the knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of contemporary Native American arts. Project budgets must show a minimum 50 percent match by the applicant organization or other anticipated sources.

What the future holds

Mission Paradox Blog

Put it like this, at my day job I'm directing significant portions of my budget toward retaining our single ticket buyers and subs and away from the sort of marketing designed to bring in new audience.  Good museum exhibitions.

Branding Your Nonprofit: An Investment in Your Tomorrows

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Similarly, names like the Phoenix Art Museum or the National Center for Victims of Crime give prospective supporters a good idea of their mandates. If you don''t have a large marketing budget, this is half the battle—name recognition. In the nonprofit sector, we sometimes market services and occasionally a product, but most frequently, we market "heart." " The by-product of our existence has more importance than any consumer product can muster.

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Marching Time

Mission Paradox Blog

A professional artist understand budgets, deadlines and the need to do a professional job even when they aren't "passionate" A pro arts org knows how to hit grant deadlines and carefully develop audience. They understand that the fun that happens on stage, in the concert hall, or in the museum. In his book Life Itself , Roger Ebert talks about how he developed his skills as a writer and film critic.  Here's a passage I love. --.

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Creating the perfect campaign for #GivingTuesday

Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Here are examples of how to reframe your ask into inspiring projects, for different kinds of nonprofits: Direct Service: If you serve 500 people a year with a $1 million budget, frame your annual fund around the $2000 it takes to serve each client. Arts and Culture: If you are a cultural organization, like a museum or zoo, consider annual fund outreach around how many visitors you have in a year or how much it costs to care for the average animal each day. The time is…NOW.

Donation Usability: Increasing Online Giving to Non-Profits and Charities

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For a non-profit with a $10M budget and an average share of online donations, such minor tweaks could mean an extra $100,000 per year. User research finds significant deficiencies in non-profit organizations' website content, which often fails to provide the info people need to make donation decisions. Non-profits would collect much more from their websites if only they'd clearly state what they are about and how they use donations.

Radio Shack Shows Nonprofits How to Succeed on Foursquare

Selfish Giving

Not only can they match the right phone to your needs and budget, but they can show you how to download the Foursquare app and how to use it when you shop with them. You probably see the sense of offering a special on Foursquare if your nonprofit is a museum or historical site.

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Jumping a low bar AKA "Aim Higher"

Mission Paradox Blog

When a person decides to buy a ticket, or a sculpture, or visit a museum, they are doing it for a wide variety of reasons.  Not numbers on a budget line, not freakin' butts in seats (a phrase I'm learning to hate), but as actual people. If all you want is sales, you are setting your ambitions way too low.

Internet Fundraising: Where To Start

Fundraising Breakthroughs

Staff ability to send and receive email, and the capacity to search the Web for information (like Foundation Guidelines).” — Adam Corson-Finnerty **Medium Sized (Corson-Finnerty says up to $6-25 million annual budget and admits the dollar ranges might not be right, and his experience is mostly in university settings; but I say nearly all groups can do most of this—2nd steps): “Not Much More.

Diversity and the Arts

Mission Paradox Blog

  Or museums, or dance, or classical music. I have to go back to my favorite quote, " don't tell me what you value, show me your budget and I'll see what you value."  I hold the five largest theatres, museums, dance companies, etc. Last week's blow up with the American Theatre Company raised some very interesting. very complex questions about diversity in the arts, theatre in particular.

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Grant Writing.Grant Writers.What's the Hubbub? My 100th Post!

Seeking Grant Money Today

Of course there are scientists, social workers, doctors, museum directors, and many others who are first one profession, but second grant writers due to their programs' and organizations' needs. It must be budgeted for. If the grant donor saw in the budget that you submitted with your grant proposal that you were going to pay out a portion of the grant to the grant writer - and they were OK with that - then fine.

Transparency.Four Letter Word Or Wave of the Future?

Seeking Grant Money Today

Recently, the NAACP 's budget shortfalls and need for improved leadership and fundraising is big news. One can imagine these exceptional salaries were at the expense of the museums' programs.( A Shift In Giving: Proactive Philanthropists Instead of Passive Donors Less and less, grant donors, major donors, or foundations are going to give to an organization that does not disclose its budget, expenses, income, fundraising plan, and financials.

Grant Proposal Writing Tips

Seeking Grant Money Today

such as writing a budget for the proposal) - see my post on how to write budgets at [link] So, if you are without time and want to just wing a grant proposal - ask a colleague who is an accomplished grant writer for assistance. Let's pretend that you and I are working on a grant proposal and we work for Skateboards Forever - a group that collects skateboards for our museum.