One of the most effective ways to build your relationships with museum supporters is an activity group. A museum activity group is an opportunity to engage your audience by leading activities that increase their knowledge of museum subject matter and increase museum interaction.
I’m going to use the activity group at the museum I serve as our primary example. At the National Quilt Museum, we have an excellent activity group with over 13,000 members called Quilt Block of the Month https://www.facebook.com/groups/NQMBlockoftheMonth/?source_id=25851835826. The group is housed on the Facebook platform. Every month a quilter designs a quilt block and helps the group make the block. The community is very active. Over 30% of the community login every 24 hours. Over 70% of the community log in at least every 30 days.
There are many benefits to putting together an activity group, including:
- Regular interaction with your audience.
- Creating interactive participatory experiences.
- Increasing museum loyalty.
- Promoting other programs through the group.
- Increasing donations.
How to Start a Group:
First, research groups related to your museum’s offerings either on the Internet or in your community. You are looking for a group that meets regularly around a specific topic or activity. On the art side, many groups get together to do monthly art projects. On the history side, some of the most successful groups take deeper dives into specific topics that match upcoming exhibits, programming, or the general theme of the museum. For example, if the museum is about the history of Jazz music, the group meets regularly to have in-depth discussions about artist careers with occasional special guests.
Second, promote the group through your digital marketing initiatives and partnerships. You should house your group in a commonly known social media platform. There are several out there that can accommodate nonprofit activity groups. As the group is on social media, you should focus on digital promotion to build the group. Promote in your event calendars, publications, emails, social media, and even each employee’s email signatures. One of the fastest ways to promote activity groups is through partnerships with social influencers. Make a list of individuals and organizations in your space with significant followings and ask them if they will partner. In addition to your digital efforts, I also recommend putting post-cards promoting the group throughout your museum. If possible, exhibit an artwork from the group somewhere in the building.
Third, find someone well known in your audience to be the group host in month one. Someone whose name will draw attention. It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone known for the skill set for which the group is themed; one museum had a local television personality host the first month of their group.
Above all else, make sure you are consistent. If you promise the group will have a monthly activity, make sure you keep that commitment. It does not have to be monthly, but whatever timetable you choose, make sure you stay on schedule.
Regardless of your museum’s mission and focus, you will benefit from an activity group.
Note: Special thanks to the team at the National Quilt Museum that make our group a success. While I am the CEO of the museum, I’m not directly involved with this program.
Article written by Frank Bennett, originally posted at www.worldclassmuseum.com.
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