“Digital Fundraising Doesn’t Exist….. not what I expected to hear at the start of a two-day training session on the subject!…

Thirteen museums came together for four days of getting to know each other’s ideas and challenges, and plenty of learning.  The first meet up was in Hertfordshire, kindly hosted by Stevenage Museum.

“Of course, fundraising is about the personal connections and it’s the channel that may be digital. We have learnt so much. Before, we made in-roads into digital fundraising, but we now know how to make it a more engaging experience.. We are now primed to catch attention with a compelling story,  convert their interest into action and then into long-term commitment.

 We feel better informed to explore the use of technology, as part of an overall strategy that includes social media, emails and perhaps crowd-funding. The follow up consultancy time will be valuable once our ideas crystallise. Indeed, it would be wonderful if we can have a follow-up session in a year’s time to see how we’ve all progressed, to help each other with any obstacles that still need hurdling and to share success stories.”  Mark Copley, British Schools Museum

The Digital Fundraising Programme, run by SHARE Museums East and presented by David Burgess of Apollo Fundraising, was very professionally organised and well presented. We had lots of discussion and break-out groups – always effective ways of learning about new subjects, as well as gaining useful input from other attendees.

As a relatively new volunteer (as Webmaster for Bushey Museum and Art Gallery) I learnt a lot about the varied reasons for and benefits of digital fundraising and the many strategies, which can use a range of technologies, to implement these initiatives – as well as what makes them effective!  In the final session, we drafted Campaign Plan for an up-coming exhibition which would use many of the techniques learnt on the course, and which may also attract funding.

All in all, a very interesting, professional – and fun – couple of days which I really enjoyed, and which should help the Bushey Museum and the local community. Thanks all! Andrew Gunton, Bushey Museum

… I particularly enjoyed the exercise to make an online donation as it made realise just how short people’s patience is with interfaces that don’t work instantly and intuitively.  I surprised myself that when seeking to give a donation to an organisation that I admire and finding the process over-complicated and slow, I gave to another charity. A valuable lesson! Marion Hill, Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies


 The November group was based in the Reading Room at Dunwich Museum on the Suffolk Coast. Again, many people were new to the museum so we were delighted to have it opened for us at lunchtime for people to have a quick peek.

My aims from this session were  1 – Awareness  of new opportunities, 2-  new channels of communication  3 – greater interactivity with our visitors.   David covered these thoroughly, mining down into relevant case studies and encouraging our participation using both discussion and activities. He frequently addressed our respective organisations directly with feedback on existing fundraising structures and the potential for new ones, making the training diverse and relevant. Ben Ridgeon, West Stow Anglo Saxon Village and Country Park

A thought-provoking couple of days, with a superb presenter – engaging, entertaining and not afraid to challenge us and ‘rattle the cage’ where necessary!  The proof of the pudding will, of course, be in the eating, but now plenty to chew over!  Jonny Wood, St Seraphim’s Icon & Railway Heritage Museum

 Starting with a warm welcome from our host Museum, we had two days in the Suffolk village that was once the second largest Medieval city in the country! David’s varied background in fundraising in the Museum and wider cultural sector provided a solid grounding for the two days. Digital fundraising doesn’t exist as such, as digital is just one option for building relationships alongside those made in the real world. This was one of the many assumptions were challenged throughout the two insightful days. 

We came away with a much broader and deeper understanding of the opportunities of digital fundraising with the important caveat that it is not a panacea to solve the financial voids in modern museums but is another chance to broaden the fundraising toolkit.  Robert Rose, Braintree District Museum

We look forward to lots of digital fundraising in the region!

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