We had three great workshops last month and really loved chatting to museums about their plans for the 2016 Festival of Museums.
For those of you who were unable to attend, we wanted to make sure that you didn’t miss out on the pearls of wisdom that were passed on during the sessions. There was so much stuff to include that we’ve had to split this blog post in to two parts. You’ll find some great tips below on planning and funding your event and we’re saving our next post on how your smart phone is your best friend when you’re trying to create a buzz around your event.
For those who are new to Festival of Museums consider it as a chance to try something new and a great opportunity to build staff skills in event planning, marketing and income generation. To get the most out of taking part museums are encouraged to plan events early on and to plan effectively. You should be thinking about who the event is for and what activity you will do to reach the audience that you are targeting.
At the workshops we had three excellent speakers who described their experience of taking part in 2015. Despite running entirely different events they all stressed the importance of planning and thinking about what you want your event to achieve for your organisation.
Just a few evaluation nuggets to help you plan and market your event
Over 23,000 visitors came to 110 events in 2015.
The events are helping to attract new visitors to your museum – 36% or survey respondents had not previously visited that particular museum
However, the events are not attracting completely new visitors to museums. Only 2% of respondents had never been in a museum before and 85% had visited a museum in the last year. So if you want to attract an audience who is new to museums then you really need to consider how you are going to market your event to reach them.
Visitors expressed high satisfaction levels with the events and by far the best thing about their visit was participating in the event itself!
We have evaluation statistics for all of the 2015 FoM participants and will be sending this out soon but please get in touch if you require it quickly.
Just a bit about Marketing
Some of you might find it helpful to plan and track your marketing activity and budget with this Festival of Museums sample marketing plan and timeline. The form will download automatically when you click on the link and you can save a local copy to keep track of your activity.
We’re also planning to hold Festival of Museums marketing sessions for those taking part which are likely to take place early in the New Year.
Funding and Festival of Museums
MGS Festival of Museums Fund
Applications for all of our funding streams are now online and the Festival of Museums fund is now live and accepting applications for requests up to £1500. You can find out more about the fund and how you can apply through our website and the deadline for applications is 20 November 2015.
Don’t lose Money! Opportunities for Skills Development around Income Generation
Those 85% of people who have been in a museum in the last year that we mentioned earlier? Those are your individual donors! Find out more how you can develop your funding streams (with a special emphasis on non-restricted funding streams) through Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage courses. The whole list of courses is available online and the site can help you to find out what level of fundraising training is most appropriate for you and your museum. The courses are very very reasonably priced and we can’t emphasise enough how helpful they are to museums looking to diversify their revenue generation. Make sure that you are using the extra numbers going through your museum over Festival of Museums to develop your fundraising capacity, by making sure that leaflets, etc. are available, donation boxes are well marked, and that your website allows online donation through a platform like MyDonate, PayPal or JustGiving!
We’re also are running a special course with Arts & Business Scotland just for FOM participants who are looking to develop their sponsorship links. The course will be held at the Arts & Business office (right near Haymarket station!) on 13 November. More info and booking is available on our website.
Don’t forget to think hard about the financial decisions around your event—should it be free? Why, or why not? What kinds of income generation opportunities can you work into your event? If you are holding a free event, can you have a recommended donation? Can you encourage people to book through EventBrite, but also seek their consent to be added to your mailing lists?
We’ll be posting more here next week on some great smart phone apps that will make organising and promoting your FoM event much easier when you’re short on time. And do remember to keep in touch! We are all here to help you make your events really a success, so just let us know if you need our help!