Digitally preserving your archival materials provides a multitude of benefits. First and foremost, your history is saved for future generations — pretty important, if you ask us. If natural disaster strikes or your materials simply decay over time, you have the next best thing to the original. You also have the ability to share your history with the world via a digital museum. Accessibility and transparency have never been more important than they are in the 21st century.
While these reasons are at the core of why we do what we do at HistoryIT, digitally preserving an archive also creates an incredibly valuable tool for an organization. Through the use of a powerful digital preservation software and a thoughtful strategy for tagging your materials, your archival assets can be transformed into a fully searchable digital museum. The portal to your history, a digital museum allows you to connect your past to the present.
Today we’re sharing three tips for how to not only save your history, but also use it to raise funds for your current projects and priorities.
Think back to the last time you went to a museum. Every gallery has a name plaque. Every exhibition has a sponsor recognition section. Some museums are even named after a donor. Your digital museum can function in the same capacity.
Consider your pool of potential donors. There are those who care deeply about the preservation of your organization’s history. There are others — often many others — who are dedicated to certain aspects of the organization, such as their chapter, the founders or philanthropic efforts. While they may be willing to contribute to your campaign, there are a limited number of ways to provide recognition for their contributions other than a listing in an annual report. However, your digital museum can function in the same way physical museums do to create a space for that acknowledgement. The ability to see their name displayed next to the content they hold so dear makes the idea of donating at a larger capacity much more appealing.
Digital museums offer multiple donor naming opportunities from the site itself to exhibitions, image galleries or even an individual chapter composite. Additionally, because those naming recognitions are not carved into stone, you can easily develop campaigns that function on a bi-annual basis to provide new donors a chance for their support to be featured in a prominent place.
Hosting an annual fundraising event? Celebrating an anniversary or other milestone? With a digitally preserved archive that’s searchable via a digital museum, you can easily locate a variety of materials to showcase past events.
Share details from past galas and drives to help your members remember this ongoing tradition and your organization’s dedication to the cause over the past several decades. While photos are a great way to spark memories, you can also incorporate past invitations, menus or programs into your promotional materials. Whether it’s a single email that details your longstanding commitment to a cause or your entire campaign is centered around past events, archival materials can be a great source of inspiration and motivation to give.
3. Major Donors
When approaching a major donor to request a gift, personal touches make all the difference. At the risk of sounding like a broken record (a digitally preserved record prior to breaking of course), a fully searchable digital archive makes it easy to quickly identify materials relevant to their interests.
Let’s take scholarships for example. Your foundation team can easily hop onto your digital museum to look for materials connected to the specific scholarship you’re fundraising for and download images to include in a proposal. Your potential donor can then see the faces of those for whom scholarships have made all the difference. They’ll learn the stories of individuals who, thanks to the generosity of others, have gone on to give back to their communities. Perhaps most importantly, they’ll see what kind of legacy their donation can create and how their name will forever be associated with positive outcomes.
These three concepts are just the tip of the iceberg for how your digital museum can help contribute to your organization’s fundraising goals. With a properly digitally preserved archive that’s easily accessible to your team, you’ll regularly discover new ways to incorporate historic materials into fundraising efforts.
Learn more about how to get started here.