Non-profit Institutions in the time of Coronavirus
In the US, the museums are non-profit museums generally created by wealthy people decades ago when they thought about creating national institutions of art like Europe. These gifts to us exist with money from the private sector so even giving $1 to them makes a difference.
The world has changed so drastically in the past 5 days, more than we know. There are a lot of organizations that have not changed the way they do business such as museums and parks that continue to raise private capital (big donors) just as they have since the doors opened. There are many other verticals that have been slow to the process as well but I am going to focus on non-profits.
We could see a massive economic downturn in the months ahead. The MET will lose $100m and does not see opening their doors again until July. I do not see a private donor writing the Met a $100M check during unstable times but I would certainly like to be proven wrong.
There will be others in this vertical who will find themselves in the same spot. I have been writing about the need to change the mentality of non-profit organizations for years. How to create revenue around the asset they are sitting on while engaging the broadest audience possible including those who can give and those who can’t. The kick to make a shift is here, whether they like it or not, is now.
The winners will be the ones who have the organizational skills and forward-thinking people on the board or on the team to make some creative decisions to bring a museum or park or any non-profit into a new world. A world where cash is still needed to run these amazing assets but the capital must come from the community connecting with them in new ways such as e-commerce, events, and other ways besides hoping a donor comes up with all the cash.
It is time to be creative and forward-thinking. We all love the museums and parks that exist in our city and when we all come out of hibernation we will want to enjoy them even more. Steps to think out of the box should begin now.