New Year Greetings from the Flourish Project
The Flourish project has continued to enjoy success across the key short, medium and long term fundraising goals, set at the outset, whilst also learning during the previous 18 months testing period.
At Chiltern Open Air Museum, we have combined an individual donor, fundraising appeal with the 40th anniversary celebrations. In May this year, we set ourselves an individual fundraising target of £20,000 and have so far received over £25,000. This has been achieved through the excellent consultancy work and assistance given to the project by our major donor adviser, Lucy Marshall of Prospect Point. Lucy helped us focus our minds on the importance of drawing up a solicitation chart, appointing a key supporter to be patron to the 40th anniversary appeal and carrying out background research on each prospect.
We have undertaken an evaluation exercise, in respect of the corporate sponsorship programme, which was launched in May this year, resulting in six major events receiving sponsorship and £3,000 received from sponsorship contributions.
The re-assessment, will take into account the amount of effort, time and resource invested into supporting the programme, whilst ensuring sponsor expectations were met. We launched the programme with four financial contribution levels of between £250.00 and £3,000.00.
The main take up was at the lower two levels and we found that in at least two cases, the sponsor demands regarding the set up and display of their own products/services and benefits under the scheme, outweighed the value of the financial commitment for the Museum. As a result, we shall discard the lowest category as well as the highest and reduce the number to just two offerings, with proposed levels of £750 and £1,500.
A successful legacy event together with a Will checking service undertaken by a friendly local solicitor and Museum supporter, has resulted in 9 legacy pledges being received….an unprecedented number within a single season.
The Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher also made a pledge at the 40th Anniversary Celebrations, held in July last year and encouraged all the guests to do follow his example.
All three Flourish partners (Chiltern Open Air Museum, Tring Local History Museum and Didcot Light Railway), have utilised the volunteering consultancy services of Julia Hill and Culture Force. Julia has assisted with running workshops and fielding questions as well as listening to issues raised from each of the partners’ volunteers. She has also assisted with a 3 year Forward Plan at Chiltern Open Air Museum, offering volunteers an opportunity to voice and share their concerns, as well as to pass on their own ideas for shaping the Museum’s future.
Flourish is supporting a number of sharing and learning days throughout the South East and South West this coming March and April, so that our counterparts and those involved in the heritage and charity sectors, may benefit from our recent experiences and learning exercises.
South East Sharing Day 6th April 2017 (venue tbc)
Encouraging visits from all parts of the community
Part of the resilience project is to encourage volunteering and visits from people from all parts of the local community, including ethnic and cultural groups and those sections of the community, that find accessing a 45 acre site in the heart of the countryside and with poor public transport, to be a significant challenge. Flourish attempted to host a by donation ‘multi-cultural day in the Autumn last year, to make a satisfy this important diversity welcoming part of this Arts Council supported project.
Our diversity specialist, Daffodil Forbes, approached community leaders within a number of the different groups to determine their level of interest in coming to a specially arranged day. Some of these had visited the Museum previously on a free entry basis and therefore, wished to re-visit on the same basis. It was explained, that as this was a fundraising based initiative, on this occasion, we were not able to offer the same entry terms as before. This proved to be a disincentive and the event did not take place, due to lack of interest and availability.
Having re-evaluated and established the reason for this set back, we embarked on a different approach to encourage the different groups participation at a future event. We realised that in order to offer something more inviting, we would need to convince the community leaders of our commitment to try to establish a significant link between their culture and the collection within the Museum i.e. our buildings. On previous visits, the Hairoun Caribbean connected with our vicarage as it resembled school houses back in their country of origin, such as Jamaica and Barbados. Another group identified with a baking oven in another building and cooking over a fire within the Iron Age Hut. Groups will be able to showcase their cultural diversity, with colourful costume, Bollywood dances, professional story tellers, music and traditional food.
Each group has now been invited to a ‘By Donation’ multi- cultural day and shall be encouraged to bring along stories and objects that reflect their culture and they will bring hair straightening cones and paraffin heaters for sitting round and telling stories. In some cases, items such as poems, letters and stories may be given a permanent place within the identified building. So far three out of five different community groups have agreed to attend the special day to be held on 1 April 2017 (the Museum’s opening day of the 2017 season). I will of course keep you updated with the post mortem from the day.
Fundraising Project Coordinator