What We've Learned

Membership Works
Under current tax laws, it's more challenging for businesses to sponsor a nonprofit event or organization with a donation than it was in the past. Museums, nonprofits, and historic sites need a strong cadre of public support, and one way to achieve that is with an active, well-executed membership program. If your organization doesn't have a membership program, we recommend you consider it.

Sell Memberships and Tickets Online
Only a small percentage of people want to pull out their checkbook, find a stamp, and mail you a check. But many will respond to a secure online payment form, and the ability to pay a small amount monthly to support an institution or organization they care about. Make sure your tickets and memberships are available online.

Networking Is Essential
People are interested in history and in helping their community, but sometimes don't feel like they know enough even to ask the right questions. Talk about your organization and your projects to everyone you meet. Ask them who they know who might be interested. Keep your ear to the ground. If you can connect people with similar goals, even if it doesn't help your organization right now, you've gained friends in the long run.

You Can Always Improve Your Communication
Yes, send emails. Send text messages, too, if you have a way to sign up those who are interested. Keep your messages clear and interesting. Read your website regularly to be sure it's up to date. Are you communicating effectively on social media? What do people see when they drive into your community? Would they know about your museum or historic site if they drive through your town or are in the area? Are there local media outlets you've never utilized? Think about other ways to reach people, like YouTube videos or podcasts. Do the local schools and home school organizations fully utilize your resources?

Flexibility Is Key
We are all learning as circumstances change. All of the organizations we're currently working with are actively growing and changing. Some are brand new, while others have been around for years. They all have many ways to improve, and are figuring out new approaches all the time.

Institutions + Individuals = Stronger Together
Local museums and historic sites are stronger when they work with local and regional scholars, authors, and "kitchen table historians" who research specific topics with great commitment. We help museums and authors work together with individual history buffs to share knowledge, passion, resources, and excitement.

Stories Are Powerful
People respond to stories. Are you telling your story? Are you telling your organization's story effectively? Are you telling the many stories of your community's history?