Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Got a Bridge to Sell You...

Okay, so enough with all the bad news about what's happening out there in the museum world! Here is a creative approach to an old fundraising idea that really kind of tickles me: the Queens Museum of Art is "selling real estate" from their scale model of New York City! Maybe I just have the nostalgia factor going on, but I really like this idea and I kind of want to "buy" the old apartment I grew up in.

A couple years ago, I did a nation-wide survey about a variety of fundraising approaches. One thing I learned from my respondents was that the "buy-a-brick/star/tile/piece of wall/etc." and the "sponsor an object/exhibit/specimen/etc." fundraising schemes while exceedingly cute and clever often did not amount to a lot in the way of actual dollars. However, there seemed to be a formula for those programs that did succeed: they were very specific in every way.

Being encouraged to "buy a brick" so that your name can go on a funders wall is very generic; there's nothing especially sexy about it--we've all seen those walls a million times over. But "buying" something that is really relevant to your constituents--like their own home in miniature, especially when often the real thing is not even available for sale, or astronomically expensive if it were for sale--is personal and appealing.

I hope this fundraiser does really well. $50 for an apartment, $250 for a single family home. $10,000 for an office building. Go invest in New York!

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