Museum ‘Money Bombs’?

29 02 2012

I’ve been thinking a lot about fundraising lately (it’s kind-of my job.) My organization (DAM Contemporaries) isΒ  discussing, like so many others, how to effectively fundraise in a changing world. And I’m not just talking about the economic climate, although it’s certainly a central issue. I’m talking about crowd-sourcing.

We can no longer ignore the power of crowd-sourced fundraising. From the ongoing success of political candidates’ ‘money bombs’ to the meteoric rise of Kickstarter it’s time non-profits took notice and learned how to bridle this power for themselves.

Take Ron Paul: his January 2012 money bomb raised $1.7 million over just one weekend. That’s serious money.

Or take Kickstarter: it is expected to provide more funding to the arts than the NEA this year.* That’s serious funding.

While non-profits cannot utilize Kickstarter itself, what is keeping us from creating money bomb fundraising campaigns in the same vein as Kickstarter? Donors love to know where their money is going, and what better way to show them exactly what they are funding than to define a very specific project for them to contribute to, at whatever level they are comfortable with?

The underlying paradigm shift here is that we could be continuing to democratize the arts with this shift in fundraising, much as I’ve already talked about with curating.

Museum peeps, what are your thoughts? Should museums try to money bomb?

*Read about this particular topic on this blog post from Talking Points Memo.

Updated 3/8/12:

The American Association of Museums Trendswatch 2012 just came out with a feature on crowd-sourced fundraising, or as they call it ‘crowdfunding’. Check out the report here: http://futureofmuseums.org/reading/publications/upload/TrendsWatch2012.pdf You’ll find the article on crowdfunding on page 14.

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2 responses

1 03 2012
jessicabrunecky

The Chronicle of Philanthropy posted a story about survey results that reveal how important it is for donors to know how their money is being used: http://philanthropy.com/blogs/prospecting/what-donors-want%E2%80%94but-often-dont-get/32441?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

21 03 2012
Ellen

Jess, you might enjoy Finders Keepers by Craig Childs. It is about pot hunters and looting of aboriginal sites in the southwest.

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