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Digital Income Summit 2021


Day One

Adult education as an opportunity for mission and revenue growth

While the Barnes Foundation has been teaching adult education for nearly a century, it took a pandemic to compel a transition into online learning. What began as an experiment out of necessity has turned into a significant new revenue stream with many avenues for growth in terms of audiences, mission reach, and donor and customer base. As a case study in resource allocation, cross-departmental collaboration, and mission-driven success, this session will offer practical guidance around growing service and revenue in a sustainable and manageable way.

How small changes can have a big impact

The Science Museum Group is a consortium of five national museums in the UK. This has given us a unique opportunity to test different approaches at each museum, and to embed learnings, whilst continuously honing our approach to online giving. Many of the lesson learnt during the pandemic will stay with us in the years to come.

Among our findings were how best to monetise the new government mandate for capturing visitor details for test and trace purposes, and the introduction of free ticketing our museum admission. With our doors shut for most of last year we also looked at how we could convert more of our digital audiences into donors too. We will look at how some simple changes to our websites have increased our general online donations as well as looking at some simple approaches that anyone can adopt to nudging more of your visitors (online and IRL) into becoming donors and getting them to give more when they do.

Online Fundraising 2.0

As you think about last year and your work ahead – new programs, new products, or expanding your reach – how do you know if you’re optimizing your digital presence for fundraising? We will explore how to assess the digital fundraising health of an organization in three areas: email marketing, website engagement, and social media. We’ll take you through indicators that we often look at when evaluating challenges and barriers to getting your message out and raising money online. You’ll learn ways to think about your priorities and leave with tactics to try.

How Art Tickets is changing museum ticketing in the UK

Crowdfunder planning for success

In December 2021, People’s History Museum were faced with the organisation forecasting a dramatic and overnight loss of venue hire bookings, cafe and shop sales, and visitor donations as a result of Covid-19 Restrictions. Despite having never leading a crowdfunder before, Sarah seized the opportunity to join the #SupportOurMuseums campaign, interested in how this technique could generate new leads for the museum’s donor acquisition pipeline. In this session, Sarah will share her top tips for success in planning and sustaining a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The Palestinian Museum and the Digital World

The Palestinian Museum was established in 2016, the online tools were always included in the activities and projects. The Museum did not depend a lot on these tools as they were mainly used to promote the activities and reach out to audiences. The Palestinian situation is always changing, even before the Covid-19, civil society organizations mainly cultural were facing unprecedented challenges which required that these organizations to think creatively and outside the box to survive and continue serve their audiences. This was an early exercise on how to use digital tools for fundraising, reach out to audience and build support.

Fundraising for Pivoted Programming and Exhibitions

Unable to host visitors inside, how does a museum reimagine its purpose and work to ensure it can interact with the communities it needs to reach? How do we, as fundraising professionals, remain nimble in our approach to secure funds through new channels? How do we ensure we remain true to who we are as a museum during this process? All these questions and more will be answered and discussed in this session.

New Digital Fundraising Platforms from the Age of COVID

COVID-19 presented a challenging fundraising landscape for our museums: closure, reduced staffing, and outdated fundraising technology. This program will guide participants to evaluate methods to ramp up digital fundraising and connect with prospects and supporters via innovative new technology. Our museums implemented multiple approaches to engage diverse audiences–reaching aggressive fundraising goals via new digital platforms. Utilizing peer-to-peer, crowdfunding, membership, virtual ticketing, and general operating support goal-driven platforms, we connected with donors in new, cost-effective, and compelling ways. Hear how two different museums quickly pivoted and adapted using new strategies and leveraged technology to expand their donor base.

Day Two

Rethinking the gift shop

The traditional model of the museum/heritage site gift shop doesn’t work online. There’s no point trying to replicate it. It requires a complete rethink. Luckily, there are plenty of ecommerce business models that do work and would be much better suited to cultural organisations. Let’s have a look at what we can steal from those that are doing well.

Making Art Personal

Red T Multiples was created in order make fine art customisation easier for consumers and for artists. Applied to museums, this innovation offers increased engagement and commercial potential for collections across both physical and virtual exhibitions.

Hear how putting the eye of the beholder first and allowing a personal touch can elevate visitor experience and convert your audiences into joyful art consumers.

Exit through the digital gift shop

In 2020 UK online retail increased by 46.1% compared with 2019, forming new habits that look set to endure.

For museum shops, the increased importance of online shopping has meant a renewed focus on delivering a user-friendly online shopping experience. Historically museums have been slow to embrace e-commerce and typically only 7% of total sales in the sector come from online.

In this context Smartify worked with the National Gallery and the StoryFutures Lab based as Royal Holloway to design and deliver a customer-centric shopping experience that could act as an aggregator across museums. The objective was to deliver a reliable and customer-centric shopping experience to maximise museum revenue.

We were particularly interested to learn whether audiences are more inclined to buy merchandise if it is linked to collection items, digital tours and narrative experiences, rather than in a separate e-shop. This presentation shares the results.

Cultural Income Generation + Ecommerce Insights

How can cultural organisations maximise commercial income? What happens when the community comes together to share that expertise?

Tom Dykes, Director of Digital of the Association for Cultural Enterprises, shares exclusive results of their eCommerce Benchmarking survey, providing a valuable insight into how the last year has affected sales and key KPIs. A great example of what the sector can do when the community comes together to share knowledge and best practice.

Tom will also introduce the wider role of the Association, a UK-based membership organisation with hundreds of members from around the world. Their primary purpose is to help equip people and organisations with the skills and tools to maximise commercial income in the arts and heritage world. Encompassing free and paid training, unrivalled networking, and best-practice learning across a whole range of revenue streams.

Exploring the Impact of Virtual Programs on Revenue Generation at Cultural Organizations

Since the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital programming has taken on new importance and prominence across museums and cultural institutions. Many organizations have begun to monetize these digital programs, through fixed-fees, suggested donations, or including them as membership benefits. With the rise of digital programs, there are many new questions: how many organizations are monetizing digital programs? What types of virtual initiatives are bringing in the most revenue? What is the return on investment for digital programs? To understand how museums are generating revenue through virtual programs and the long-term outlook of digital, this session will share the results of a 2021 study of 500+ cultural professionals.

Mystery at the Museum

What do you get if you cross a BAFTA-winning wildlife presenter, an empty, dark Museum and a captive (online) audience in lockdown? Throw in a quirky crowd funding campaign, and a LOT of dinosaurs, and you get Mystery at the Museum! This live, interactive, online event presented by CBBC’s Steve Backshall invited viewers at home to participate in a night-time puzzle-solving adventure around the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, learning about natural history through objects along the way. Find out more about how the Museum team and Steve put this innovative fundraising event together, and the fantastic audience response!

Connecting with Future Generations

While we all want to get back to a world where in-person gatherings are the norm, it’s critical to continue investing in your online audience. Your organization’s future success will be based on your ability to deepen connections both within and beyond your museum’s walls. By using digital platforms effectively, you have the opportunity to inform, educate and inspire this impressionable group. After all, the next generation of donors, tourists and museum explorers are out there, they’re digital natives, and they value emotional connections. It’s time to speak their language.

Museums Making Money From Online Content: Might Our Beliefs Be Holding Us Back?

Last year, as the pandemic hit and we saw cultural organisations struggling to square the twin demands of more online content and financial sustainability, we asked the question ‘What would it take to make online content and experiences genuinely sustainable?’

At the time we suggested that perhaps the sector had ‘problem blindness’ – a belief that offering online content and experiences was critical to ensuring equitable access – that closed down exploration of other opportunities. We set out to test whether access and income really were a zero-sum game.

Six months on we will share the results from our research programme involving many thousands of online and social audience members around the world. The data presents a fascinating picture of our current situation and suggests some rich opportunities for the future.

Day Three

A Bold New Approach

Senior Relationship Manager Corporate Partnerships: Partners, sponsors and Global Circle Van Gogh Museum

Urita Mual will share the Van Gogh Museum’s bold new strategy that has seen them double their fundraising income over the last 4 years. How did the museum attract big sponsors donors for multiple years? How did they grow their online donations? What did the museum grow their geographic reach with offers for donors in Asia and USA?

Pivot! Increasing reach and revenue with online learning

When your customers are used to walking past Rodins to get to their seats, how do you bring them with you when you pivot to online? That was the killer question when V&A Academy decided to launch online art history courses during summer 2020. What we didn’t expect was that V&A Academy Online would provide a richer, deeper learning experience, with greater reach and accessibility to boot and that maybe those Rodins… Were just getting in the way.

Keeping the Walk of Art Alive

Painshill is know as ‘Where the Walk is a Work of Art’ but when a global pandemic struck in 2020, there was a real chance the the Charity which manages this historic garden would not survive – learn about what the team at Painshill did to not just survive but thrive.

Sponsored Presentation: Leveraging Digital Content

The average number of visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 2007 to 2019 was 6 million. Guess how many people visited the museum in 2020 – a paltry 1 million.

There’s no doubt the pandemic has disrupted businesses all over the world in the last eighteen months. With their doors firmly closed to visitors, museums too have witnessed their fair share of challenges in this time period. For most, generating a steady stream of revenue has been a major cause for concern.

codemantra’s AI-powered digital asset & distribution management platform handles everything from storing digital assets, structuring of content to transforming content into various digital formats including making the content WCAG compliant, support with digital rights management (DRM), and distribution of e-books to various e-commerce and e-library platforms across the globe. With codemantra, museums & art galleries can bring their massive collections of books and catalogs to living rooms and classrooms across the globe.

This presentation will address the ins and outs of content transformation and how museums can leverage it to boost their revenue.

Panel: What can NFTs do for Museums?

NFTs are the latest thing to hit the art market with some earning millions. But does this cryptocurrency phenomenon have potential to bring museums revenue and what are the challenges of the technology?

Timed Ticketing 101: Optimizing Your Visitor Experience for the New Normal

As museums and cultural institutions open their doors again, new restrictions weigh heavily on organizations with a long history of welcoming public crowds.

They are now faced with the task of formulating their operations to limit the number of individuals into their facility and configure their experience to allow visitors to maintain social distancing standards.

To scale their operation, institutions have been forced to implement a timed departure structure.

Using my commercial distribution experience for many high-volume reservation-based attractions, I have developed a how-to program including fundamentals to help your team strategize and implement.

Digital Experiences as Revenue Generators

Find out how Cultural Attractions ranging from some of the world’s greatest museums to tiny, volunteer-led historic sites have managed to weather the Covid19 pandemic by embracing digital experiences.

Whether that be by creating global outreach during lockdown to sustain audiences, donors, friends and supporters, to actual online retailing of experiences; to translating the learnings of BYOD in lockdown to maximise engagement in remobilisation, this session gives insight into the best of more than 80 brand new experiences launched since the beginning of the pandemic.