Fundraising Ideas

Fundraising for Museums: 10 Creative Ideas

Art museums bring enlightenment to people of all ages and abilities. They offer toddlers enjoyment of story time and looking at art in the galleries followed by creating art. They bring art making to folks with Alzheimer’s and handicaps which is to offer them a new language or perspective. Fundraising for museums holds this special power in the world. Thus asking corporations and donors to help makes fundraising a little easier.

Here are some creative fundraising ideas for museums to get your team started.

10 Ideas to Enhance Fundraising for Museums

1) K-12 School Programs

School programs at museums enable students to make connections and develop an understanding of art creatively and historically. The experiences K-12 students are offered include facilitated visits with docents, museum artists, poets, curators and art donors. Guided programs provide opportunities for students to work directly with ideas, interpretation and communication. Teachings ignite curiosity and cultivate academic and personal skill.

An example is a one hour guided visit in the galleries with a additional hour to create art. After exploring and discussing different paintings and sculptures in the galleries, students create their own unique work to take home. Creative challenges encourage material exploration, creative thinking, and problem-solving.

School programs may be offered on a sliding fee scale. Find larger donations in fundraising for museums through specific campaigns for school programs:

  • Corporate sponsorships targeted for school programs
  • Matched employee donations within corporate sponsorships
  • Donors with a special interest in education
  • Fundraising for museums through parent and extended family donations
  • Partnerships between schools and museums on school fundraising events

The fundraising opportunity school programs provide museums is found in how they enrich children. The enrichment is seen by donors. And donors have a clear understanding of how their donations are used. Invite them to join school programs as volunteers, or to watch children find a new world.Fundraising for Museums – 10 Ideas

2) Travel Programs

Travel across the city or globe with curators to explore the world’s artistic treasures. Communities have the pleasure of an enriching vacation with the added joy of giving. Price travel packages to include a required donation to the museum.

Bringing art from around the world to communities through travel are unique fundraising ideas for small museums.

3) Museum Memberships

Members are an important aspect of fundraising for museums. They are committed donors who pay an annual or monthly fee. Various types of memberships exist with different benefits and donor levels. Family, dual and single memberships are examples.

Members receive benefits like:

  • Free museum admission
  • Discounted guest tickets
  • Members-only hours and previews for major exhibitions
  • Museum store discounts
  • Members-only parties to say thank you
  • Discounted art-classes
  • Guest passes

DoJiggy’s nonprofit websites include membership management functionality to make these transactions safe and easy to accept and manage.

4) Live Performances

Poetry, dance, and other performances may be planned in concert with exhibitions and installations.

Performances and gallery talks funded through corporate sponsors gives them recognition and branding. Find out more about forming corporate sponsorships in fundraising for museums.

5) Gala Events

Many museums are renowned not only for their art collection, but for grand buildings. Fundraising ideas for small museums and large are found in their architectural spaces ideal for events. Large corporate dinners, nonprofit galas, meetings, and film screenings are a few.

  • For elegantly catered events from business meetings to intimate dinners and cocktail receptions, museums offer the perfect setting.
  • With a variety of spaces equipped with state-of-the-art media, museums are ideal locations to host a concert. Expert museum teams focus on technology needs and create the perfect experience for audiences.
  • Board meetings and day-long staff retreats held under the same roof as a world-class art collection inspire teams.

6) Screen Independent Films

Fundraising for Museums

Museums offering independent films provides unique opportunities to experience such an important aspect of visual culture. Several options apply:

  • Foreign films
  • Critically-acclaimed and documentaries from around the world
  • Independent films with discussions following
  • Films about artists
  • Visually splendid films for adults and children
  • Video productions and films by local artists

Sell tickets to the film screenings as well as offering refreshments. Seek generous funding for films through corporate and anonymous donors. Movie production companies and donors who tend to donate to the arts are places to start. Add a free film pass to one of your donor levels.

7) Launch an Online Museum Store

Online merchandise sales are a great way to raise money for museums. An opportunity to sell tasteful products on a national and international scale online include:

  • Art books to experience art anew, or for the first time with lavishly illustrated books and narrated audio books
  • Apparel of paintings such as tops, t-shirts and scarves
  • Tote bags to bring beauty to markets
  • Mugs to contemplate art over coffee
  • Learn to paint kits with everything a young painter needs to create masterpieces: brushes, color washable paints, paper, instructions and ideas
  • Umbrellas to brighten any rainy day with paintings of Monet’s water lilies overhead
  • Art prints of paintings housed around the world
  • Add your nonprofit logo to some of these items for branding

Find out how to start an online store for nonprofits and create beautiful, custom appeal and accessories.

8) Offer Paid Museum Tours & Lectures

A lively series of lectures are held throughout the year in the museum. Talks by artists, curators, and other experts from a variety of scholarly fields shed light on art.

Fundraising for museums would not be complete without smart discussions of current exhibitions led by docents. Bring 30-minute guided tours that provide insight into history, methods and influences. Drop-in tours may be held on certain days of the month. Private tours offered to groups as a corporate sponsorship benefit are attractive. Bring new donors and volunteers to the museum fundraising scene through these special tours. Tours held in conjunction with open houses and wine tasting fundraisers raise even more.

9) Art Classes

Introduce adults to the fundamentals of drawing or acrylic painting. Provide the practice of various approaches to charcoal, pastel or paint from a live model. Help them learn how material, form, and space define sculpture. Offering a variety of classes are wonderful museum fundraising ideas. Students often become ambassadors and volunteers of museums through classes. Consider introducing a crowdfunding event with an art focus involving your students and alumni.

10) Build Community Partnerships

People with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia have a new opportunity to communicate through visual arts. Creating art is a form of expression people with special needs benefit from. Forming unique partnerships with large nonprofits who provide services for special needs are great museum fundraising ideas. Large corporations may grant money to museums who offer classes and show their ability to create partnerships.

Museums are places of beauty. Members start their visual trance from the outside of these magnificent buildings and breath new air when walking in. Fundraising events, special gatherings, classes and meetings held there inspire and help museums thrive. Many are the ways museums bring beauty and education to communities while fundraising.


About Maureen Peine

Maureen has been writing and marketing for DoJiggy for 8 years, and has a strong background in nonprofit fundraising. While with The Nature Conservancy for 7 years prior, she learned the inner workings of marketing to the State of California within the external affairs department. Her heart is in her writing as she believes in the power of change through nonprofit organizations.
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