"From the Director"
This past week I attended the American Alliance of Museums annual conference in Seattle., where I presented in a session about fund-raising in small museums. Sometimes, I think we do not realize the significance of our programs at our little museum in the middle of the desert, but I just received an email saying in part, "Your presentation/topic was one of perennial relevance to many of our smaller and newer institutional members."
My presentation was on the "Friendraiser" events that we held last year. The six events we held raised $3,200.00 toward the endowment. They were also fun and I think people liked attending. More important they provided a forum where we could present a very clear focused message to a select group of our supporters.
The idea of a small, intimate gathering in the home of a Board member may not be revolutionary. I attended other sessions that discussed fundraising events that were hosted in the homes of major donors. These events raised millions of dollars for the museums that held them. This is a very different concept, however, from our Friendraisers. The Friendraisers were developed as a way that the Imperial Valley Desert Museum could achieve 100% giving by our Board of Directors, but gathering around a table to discus our plans for developing a new exhibit and endowment also allowed us to develop a key group of stakeholders who would take our message out to other people in the community. We built funds and built friends at the same time.