Not for Profits – web windfall?

Richard MacManus is doing a Read/Write Web feature series on NFP’s which looks like it’s going to be interesting. He’s going to focus on how Not for Profits use the web and the various tools available. In his first post he cites a 2004 article from Wired which I haven’t seen before which suggests that online donations are a huge and untapped resource for museums and other NFP institutions.

I’ve got a suspicion that there is a huge disparity between what happens in the US and UK on this. I’ve certainly read a bunch of stuff which suggests that individual donations are much more prevalent over the pond than they are here. Certainly in my experience the major source of donations to museums in the UK is from major funders such as the Big Lottery or big corporates, and rarely from individuals.

If anyone has any figures they are willing to share on income from donations (both individual and corporate) it’d be very interesting to hear.

2 thoughts on “Not for Profits – web windfall?”

  1. There’s a paper by Toepler in Museum International from 2006 (“The Role and Changing Face of Non-market Provision of Culture in the United States”) that gives US figures for public funding versus other sources of income. Read it, it’s quite hard to summarise here, but one thing that struck me was that he reckons that 70-80% of museums (other than federal ones) are “non-profits” rather than publicly funderd. Another was an estimate that, including volunteering (a big contribution), gofts of cash or goods in kind contribute 15 times what comes from public funds.

    Shouldn’t you be changing nappies or something?

  2. Speaking to people at Mus & Web over the years its been clear to me for some time that Museums in the States benefit hugely from private donations and legacies, to the scale of new wings, major collections etc. I’m sure Phil Getchell at MFA Boston would be able to get hold of some ball park figures for you for MFA.


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