Many arts organizations are facing challenges. The need for donation management software in these institutions can be great, and museums need a thorough plan for fundraising to keep up with various demands. The current predicament of the Delaware Art Museum demonstrates how arts institutions can face difficulties managing funds.
The Delaware Art Museum recently came under criticism for deaccessioning a few of its works of art to raise money, The New York Times reported. The museum is currently $19.8 million in debt after an expansion project. However, the move to sell certain artwork was met with criticism from the Association of Art Museum Directors. The group sanctioned the Delaware Art Museum, which means it has lost its accreditation and cannot receive loaned works from other museums. A release from AAMD noted that the group believes works of art should only be deaccessioned to make room for more art.
“By deaccessioning and selling a work from its collection to cover costs, the Delaware Art Museum has violated one of the most basic and important of AAMD’s principles,” the statement said.
The museum auctioned off William Holman Hunt’s “Isabella and the Pot of Basil,” and will be auctioning Winslow Home and Alexander Calder pieces in the fall. One of the problems with this strategy is that the works may not receive their full value. According to The Times, the Hunt piece sold at auction went for just over $4 million, less than its estimated value of $8.4 to $13.4 million.
Cultural institutions can utilize other means of raising funds
Managing funds at an arts organization can be difficult. But with careful planning, it’s unlikely these institutions will have to take such extreme measures to keep their doors open. In addition to their endowments and nominal entrance fees, art museums have other means of raising and managing money. According to the Smithsonian Institution, many museums leverage their board members to help them attract major donors. Besides, the Smithsonian Institution reported that of the museums surveyed, board members were expected to contribute between $3,500 and $100,000.
Lately, museums have also been working harder to implement “blockbuster” exhibitions, which can bring in more major individual donors, increase sponsorship revenue, grow membership and increase attendance.
Another strategy is to make development a greater focus. For museums, development typically includes membership in addition to donations. With the use of donation management software, as well as strong fundraising strategies, art museums and other cultural institutions can meet their financial needs.