Generating income online

From Our Toolkit

Generating income online has become as important as the funds generated on-site. Since the COVID-19 pandemic there has been an explosion of information and resources to support online activity. Here are some key sources to get you started.

Adding a donate button to your website

The online equivalent of your on-site donation box, adding a donate button to your website can provide a new passive income stream for your organisation.  MuseumNext’s article: How Museums Can Win at E-Commerce and Online Donations looks at how to make the online ask for funds. They also have a companion article discussing the pros and cons of online donation WordPress plug-ins which is worth a read.

Setting up an online shop

E-Commerce has boomed over the past two years and so have the resources to support it. Digital Culture Network’s article: An introduction to e-commerce is a good starting point. The DCN website also hosts many follow up information on the different aspects of e-commerce and merchandising. 

Charging for online events

Online events have become a mainstay of cultural and heritage event programmes over the past two years and are here to stay. If you think that this is something you would like to try then Museum Development South East’s Making online content work for you resources look at how to do this effectively through a webinar, case studies and further signposting.


Crowdfunding can be a great way to raise funds for clearly defined projects or outcomes.  The National Archives’ resources on crowdfunding provides a raft of information and advice what it is, how to set it up and includes case studies for organisations who have tried this approach.

Many of the main crowdfunding platforms also provide information and top tips on how to set up a successful crowdfunding campaign. These include:

Crowdfunder worked with Heritage Fund and NESTA to pilot crowdfunding for heritage organisations. You can find out more and see the projects funded on their Heritage + the Crowd page.

There is further more in depth guidance on Crowdfunding in the Fundraising section of the toolkit.

Browse the toolkit
Search the toolkit
Toolkit contents

A one-page list of all the sections of the Toolkit.