Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pennies from Heaven Yield Dollars!

To continue the previous post about making known one's needs and creating accessible ways for those compassionate ones to contribute ...

Why be too "proud" as not to ask. The "graying" of the patron-base of major institutions is a fact of life. Sure, these usual audience members are closer to fulfilling their pledges for endowment than before the economic down-turn. But they are going to live longer than their parents, so the old model of fund raising doesn't work very well. The extra change from the young, under-employed, students and others who dearly love and want to support their philharmonic, or art museum, etc. can be realized.

About three directors ago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art had decided to increase its basic membership from $35 to $60 (or close to it). The appeal from the director was to recount the benefits of membership (art notwithstanding) to include discounts to the gift shop and the cafeteria. I wrote back, saying that I didn't need to join a gift shop or cafeteria. The art collection didn't interest me that much. I'd take my money and use it for admission to other museums with art I enjoyed. The increase was so significant -- especially for a public institution -- that I couldn't join. I had to break a long tradition of supporting my community through donations and way-laid an important sense of my identity: membership in a museum.

No matter what, Don't Forget to Ask for the Money!

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