For many, the concept of a physical museum in today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected, digitally-enhanced world feels antiquated at best and useless at worst. Everything can be found online, so why still have immense, inefficient spaces to view artifacts?
Two reflections come to mind:
First, physical museums are designed to create stories that highlight how our lives, our choices, and our behaviors are part of the massive and lengthy fabric of human and world narratives. We are shown, through historically-significant materials, documents, and artwork, that our lives are a tiny part of a much larger and complex story. This contextual experience helps all of us recognize the paradox of both how small and how important each of our lives are.
Second, physical museums serve as group learning spaces. Social interaction helps cement the connection and relationship between us all today. Together, we are experiencing important learnings in similar ways. This type of social learning helps us all cohere around common concepts and ideas of benefitting the greater good.
Museums, then, help to affirm for us and remind us of important connections to both our shared past and to each other today. And these types of deep recognitions also are keenly important to our work in advancement.
Yes, you should be focused on finer segmentations and ever-more personalization in your outreach to donors and prospective donors. Of course you should be setting up opportunities to visit individually with major gifts donors and major gifts prospects.
But reminding them that others before them were generous while also constructing opportunities for them to learn how to be generous from one another remain effective engagement strategies for all donors.
If we want donors to care deeply enough to charitably invest in significant ways, we must remind them that their giving isn’t all about them.