What do we mean by income generation?

From Our Toolkit

Income generation describes any activity which uses your facilities or collections to create revenue for your organisation. All income generating activity, the expenditure of time and money it requires to set it up and run as well as the anticipated income, should be clearly outlined in your business plan.

Types of activity

Income generation for heritage organisations whether you are a museum, archive, university or sports club will need to be tailored to your situation, collection, capacity and resources. It is best practice to have a combination of passive and active types of income generating activity. Passive forms of income generating require less maintenance and monitoring for example having a donation box. Active forms require more maintenance such as running a shop.

Examples of income generating activity for a heritage organisation could mean any of the following:

  • Licensing your collection for reproduction
  • Having donation boxes
  • Charging for research enquiries
  • Charging for events and activities
  • Running a shop (on-site and / or online)
  • Running a cafe
  • Offering venue hire
  • Offering corporate sponsorship and / or hospitality
  • Membership schemes

Introductory advice

The National Archives provide advice on Generating Income. As part of this there is more detailed guidance on planning income generating activities including a case studies on how different organisations have achieved this in their Income Generation Support in making decisions about generating income from commercial activities resource.

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