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Fundraising for Museums: 8 Keys to Success Every Museum Leader Should Know

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Being a head of a museum is both challenging and rewarding work. Museum leaders and those who aspire to the role are expected to engage donors and members and raise money effectively; yet, most have received little or no training or support in advancement. In Fundraising for Museums: 8 Keys to Success Every Museum Leader Should Know, veteran fundraising consultant Linda Wise McNay demystifies fundraising for museum leaders.

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Fundraising for Museums

Being a head of a museum is both challenging and rewarding work. Museum leaders and those who aspire to the role are expected to engage donors and members and raise money effectively; yet, most have received little or no training or support in advancement. In Fundraising for Museums: 8 Keys to Success Every Museum Leader Should Know, veteran fundraising consultant Linda Wise McNay demystifies fundraising for museum leaders.

This innovative book will guide museum leaders on:

  • How museum leaders should manage their time in every stage of their fundraising and stewardship efforts
  • The importance of board leadership
  • The critical relationship between the museum leader and, if there is one, the chief development officer
  • Detailed instruction on “how to ask”

McNay offers lessons that she routinely shares with her arts and cultural clients. Some museums do not have a chief development officer or experienced advancement staff. She shares detailed explanations of which fundraising tasks are the most important and which should be undertaken first by museum leadership. She explains annual giving, major giving, capital campaigns, and the museum’s endowment.

This book is organized into eight chapters:

Chapter One: Three Secrets to Successful Fundraising

Museums cannot be supported by tuition alone. Therefore, the museum leader needs to devote significant time and attention to fundraising. A museum leader must be able to present the case for support and lead the board and staff in a team effort to ask for funds, all while following a coordinated plan of action.

Chapter Two: Fundraising Methods by Rate of Return

A museum fundraising plan should include scheduled direct mail, telephone, event, sponsorship, email, and personal solicitations. Effectiveness of all solicitations is enhanced with an accurate database and appropriate stewardship.

Chapter Three: The Big Ask

The museum leader needs to be able to talk about money—a lot. The greatest reason people give money is because they are asked in person!

Chapter Four: Forge a Lasting Partnership with the Chief Development Officer

Development is the process of building long-term, positive, and mutually beneficial relationships between donors and the cultural institution. This is best achieved by the combined efforts of the museum leader and the development staff member(s) and volunteers. It is definitely not a one-person job.

Chapter Five: A Primary Responsibility of the Board Is to Raise Money

One hundred percent of board members should participate in fundraising both as donors and in soliciting others to all campaigns at your museum.

Chapter Six: Operational Funds Have Less Donor Appeal, but They Are Essential

Most museums begin their fundraising efforts with the annual fund or membership. You must create a case for annual operating needs and train your volunteers on the importance of unrestricted giving.

Chapter Seven: Capital Campaigns Occur Every Three to Five Years, so Prepare Yourself

Everyone is an annual fund prospect. Some donors are also capital gift prospects. The top 10 donors are critical to your campaign success.

Chapter Eight: Endowment Building for the Future

The best way to build an endowment for your museum is to initiate a planned giving program.

Linda McNay

Linda Wise McNay, Author

Linda Wise McNay is an independent fundraising consultant. Before launching Our Fundraising Search (an organization dedicated to assisting nonprofits with their fundraising needs), Linda served for seven years as Partner at Alexander Haas, a nationally prominent fundraising consulting firm.  Linda’s nonprofit background includes work with both higher and secondary education, the arts, and human service organizations and has included work in capital campaigns, annual fund, planned giving, membership, strategic planning, and organizational development. Linda has lived and worked in Atlanta for more than twenty years.

Linda served as Chief Development Officer for the High Museum of Art leading its efforts to raise $95 million to bring great art from the Louvre and China to the Atlanta community. During her tenure she also managed the execution of an endowment campaign, initiated the institution’s first full-time planned giving effort, and increased the museum’s membership to a record fifty thousand. Linda also served as national president of the Art Museum Development Association.

Prior to the High Museum of Art, Linda served as Director of Advancement at Pace Academy, a K–12 private school in Atlanta. During her tenure at Pace, she led the school’s largest and most successful capital fundraising campaign with a goal of $15 million. The campaign was an overwhelming success, reaching goal ahead of schedule, under budget and with 95 percent parent participation and 100 percent faculty/staff participation.

In higher education, Linda has held positions including Vice President of the Georgia Foundation for Independent Colleges; Executive Director of the Emory Challenge Fund at Emory University; Director of Development at the Georgia Institute of Technology and alumni and development roles at her alma mater, Transylvania University.

A regular speaker and presenter at workshops and conferences and author of numerous articles for publication, her doctoral dissertation was entitled The Relative Cost Effectiveness of Three Direct Mail Techniques on Non-Alumni Prospects. Linda earned her Doctorate in Philosophy of Higher Education from Georgia State University; a Master of Business Administration specializing in Personnel Administration, from the University of Kentucky; and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. Linda and her architect husband, Gary, have two grown sons. In her spare time, Linda likes traveling to new places with family and friends, reading, writing, walking, and roller-skating.

About the In the Trenches Series

You’ll know an In the Trenches™ book not just by its cover, but by the author’s fun, upbeat writing style. But don’t be fooled by its down-to-earth approach and ample use of sidebars. In the Trenches books are authoritative and cover what a beginner should know to get started and progress rapidly, and what a more experienced nonprofit-sector practitioner needs to move forward in the subject.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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