There are five main different areas of funding which can be drawn in to support the museum sector:
1. Public funding.
This is the type of funding that comes through grant in aid via the Department of Culture, Media and Sport for National Museums, and through Local Authorities for many local museums. It is also where project funding can be drawn for testing out new ideas, the need for capital builds, delivering short-term activity, and supporting needed programme delivery posts. The types of organisations that fall into this category are:
2. Trusts and Foundations
These are organisations which have been set up with a specific charitable purpose in mind. As such, they each have criteria, usually found on their websites, which outlines who and what they will and won’t fund, and to what amount. You can find out more about the types of organisations, and search relevant funders through websites such as Funding Central.
3. Corporate Social Responsibility
Many businesses have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy. This means that they aim to engage with local communities or good causes to support the environment in which they are based. This might be a local water company, a national supermarket chain, or a local media firm. They key to finding out more is to think about organisations which may have a fit with what you are trying to do, and contact them! Have a clear plan in place before doing so, and know exactly what is you are asking for beforehand, and, importantly, how investing in you will meet their CSR objectives.
If your work, ideas, or projects fit with a corporate organisation, there may be an opportunities for sponsorship. To achieve success here, you need to research which organisations are likely fits with your work, understand why they might want to sponsor you, and specifically which element of your work, and then approach them with clear plans about how sponsoring you will be good for their business – will they have access to your venue? Their logo on educational material?
5. Crowd Funding
Increasingly there is an opportunity to use online methods to raise funds. Websites such as Crowd Funder allow you to advertise the project you need funding for, how much funding you need, share this with contacts, networks, communities and partners, and allow them to pledge funding to support the activity in return for a reward which can be something as simple as tweet or an event.