Digital Fundraising Advice from Charity Digital

With face-to-face fundraising events cancelled over the past 18 months, many not-for-profit organisations have turned to digital fundraising. Charity Digital’s latest e-newsletter looks at some of the strategies available to charities (and indeed other groups) for such fundraising activities.

One new innovation is Zoom’s donations button. The donations button, which is integrated into the video calling software through an app called Donations by Pledge, allows charities to turn Zoom meetings into virtual fundraisers. The app is free for all charities to use and doesn’t take a percentage of the donations. This means you can use all the money raised to deliver your charitable activities. The Pledge website says the only fees are standard credit card fees (2.9%+.30) and a $5 (£3.58) a month disbursement fee.

As Zoom has become a popular way to keep in touch during the pandemic for many industrial heritage sites this might be an easy way into virtual fundraising, since the new app gives supporters a quick and easy way to donate online. More details, and other digital fundraising strategies, can be found here:

Charity Digital

No One left Behind: Museums Worcestershire’s Free Online Resources for Heritage Organisations

Museums Worcestershire has produced a set of free online resources for heritage organisations, which may be of interest to any early-career staff, trainees, or volunteers in the Industrial Heritage sector.

The free toolkits and training videos are designed to support heritage staff wishing to improve their skills and to aid recovery from the effects of the pandemic. The topics are wide-ranging including guidance on fundraising, learning, marketing, volunteering, events, and collections.

The ‘No One Left Behind’ project is a partnership between Museums Worcestershire and Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service (WAAS), funded by Historic England.

These resources can be accessed via the following link:

Museums Worcestershire Logo

Latest Guidance and Courses from Heritage Digital

The latest round of free online seminars and guidance from Heritage Digital is out and includes several items relevant for Industrial Heritage organisations and individuals. Heritage Digital is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the Digital Skills for Heritage initiative.

Webinar: Recruiting, retaining, and managing digital volunteers

Volunteers are often the bread and butter of heritage organisations – what would we do without them? Watch this webinar from Claire Sully at Community Makers who offers tips on how to create an engaged volunteer community.

Digital Guide: Digital Marketing Strategy Guide

Learn the key components of a digital marketing strategy that every organisation should know. Whether it’s attracting new audiences or telling your story digitally, this free guide is available for you to download and use within your marketing team.

Recording: How to use digital assets to support your strategy

Re-watch this session by Naomi Korn from 2020’s #HeritageDigitalNow event to find out how to make the most of digital assets to support your strategy.

Details on how to watch the seminars can be found by following this link: Charity Digital – Heritage Digital

Heritage Open Days 2021 – Register Now!

This year Heritage Open Days will run from 10-19 September 2021. The theme is Edible England, from forgotten recipes to food in the factory, why not hold an event to help audiences explore our culinary heritage?

Heritage Open Days is looking for ‘Edible England’ to encompass the broadest possible spectrum of events and stories, from revealing culinary tastes of the past to going behind-the-scenes of modern production methods. The theme will also explore the customs and quirks that have developed around what we eat and drink, as well as the fascinating history of some of our regional and national specialties.

You can get a range of extra resources by registering an event including marketing and evaluation materials to help inform future activity. For more details about how to get involved, visit the Heritage Open Days website.

Industrial Heritage Support Update, April to June 2021

April saw the second round of COVID-19 recovery grants, with Historic England (HE) distributing over £8m to 64 sites, and Arts Council England (ACE) distributing £13.5 million to 72 sites. Railways accounted for over 50% of the sites receiving support from HE in April, whilst ACE support was spread across a wider range of industrial sites in this round.

Headstocks at Blists Hill, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. This was one of the first industrial heritage sites to re-open in Spring 2021.

Smaller sites such as wind and watermills are notable absentees from both lists. However, it should be noted that application for funds in both rounds was entirely voluntary. There are limited reports of further redundancies in the first five months of 2021, but there were fewer reports of vandalism and trespass on industrial heritage sites. 

The 17th May saw further easing of the COVID restrictions for indoor venues and marked the beginning of a mass re-opening of industrial heritage sites in England. As during the summer re-opening of 2020, this was led by the larger open-air industrial museums and the Heritage Railways sector. A rapid online review of industrial archaeology and heritage websites and facebook pages was undertaken at the end of June to assess the level of re-opening of sites. Many industrial sites re-opened between mid-May and the end of June, with roughly 50% open by 30 June. More are planning on re-opening in July and August as restrictions are lifted.

The Industrial Heritage Networks (IHNs) are a key part of the Industrial Heritage Support project, and were set up in 2018 with the help of the Association for Industrial Archaeology and the Association of Independent Museums. These IHNs meet twice a year, online, to discuss current issues and opportunities for those running industrial heritage sites. The first round of online IHN meetings for London, the North West, West Midlands, South West, North East, Cornwall & Devon, and South East were held between October 2020 and April 2021. 82 individuals from 60 organisations took part in these network meetings, with a key theme being the impact of the pandemic on volunteers. A further round of online meetings will be held in the autumn and winter of 2021/22.

IHNs are currently being set up for the East Midlands, East of England, and Yorkshire with online meetings planned for July, August, and September. If you work or volunteer in industrial heritage in these regions and want to get involved in sharing knowledge and experience through the new IHNs, please contact the IHSO, Dr Mike Nevell.

NHMF Launches £40 Million COVID Impact Funding

The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) have announced a new funding stream to save heritage assets at risk of loss due to the impact of Covid-19. Charities, not-for-profit, and public sector organisations are welcome to apply over the next two years. There are no deadlines for applications.

The new fund is formed from £20m from NHMF reserves, plus an extra £20m from the Government to safeguard heritage assets in England. To apply, you must first submit an Expression of Interest, and you are encouraged to contact NHMF beforehand. More information about the fund and how to apply can be found at:

COVID-Recovery Regional Funds Now Available from the Museum Development UK Network

Since 2020, MDUK and The Art Fund have forged a new partnership to distribute recovery funding to museums across the UK. Recovery Grants and Programmes are administrated by the UK-wide Museum Development providers with grants of up to £5000 available. Follow the links below for details of the support funds available for these English regions:

Museum Development North East

Museum Development Yorkshire

Museum Development North West

Museum Development East Midlands

Museum Development West Midlands

Museum Development East of England (SHARE Museums East)

Museum Development London

Museum Development South East

Museum Development South West

Some examples of activities for which grants can be used include:

  • Online ticketing software or contactless payment / donation equipment
  • Consultancy on reviewing your business model 
  • Improvements to digital audience engagement, such as website upgrades, short films or webinars
  • Community engagement or co-curation projects
  • Audience data research such as ‘Audience Finder’
  • Wellbeing initiatives for staff and volunteers.

Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust Job Opportunity

Founded in 1967, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust Ltd is a registered charity whose twin aims are education and heritage conservation. The Trust cares for 35 scheduled monuments and listed buildings within the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site and operates 10 award winning museums. They collectively tell the story of the Ironbridge Gorge’s universal significance and its unique role in the development of the Industrial Revolution. The museums receive around 450,000 visits a year including 60,000 school visits.

The Trust is looking to recruit a creative, dynamic, and forward-looking Collections and Learning Director, who will join the Museum at a pivotal moment for the organisation as it reopens following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Collections and Learning Director post is being remodelled with an added emphasis on industrial heritage expertise. There are several exciting projects underway and the postholder will be required to contribute to them and the strategic collections and learning plan.

The Collections and Learning Director will be a key member of the Senior Management Team and there is real opportunity for the postholder to come in and contribute to the vision of Ironbridge in a post-2020 cultural landscape.

Click here for full details.

AIM Funding News: New Stories New Audiences

Funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, ‘New Stories New Audiences’ aims to inspire museums to stay relevant to their audiences and to increase their impact. It is open to all AIM members in the small museum category (up to 20,000 visitors) and is designed to fund projects that result in a wider range of people being involved in heritage at your organisation. AIM expect you to have identified a new story that you wish to tell and undertaken some initial research to identify who the new audience will be. AIM also expect you to work with a new partner, to work differently and to try something new.

AIM will fund projects that could include:

  • Developing new interpretation
  • Creating a small display or exhibition
  • Developing new educational resources
  • Creating art works
  • Undertaking new collecting
  • Developing a website or other digital resource
  • Organising an event
  • Creating new volunteering opportunities
  • Developing a new tour

Examples of partners could include a school, local history group, university, local charity, community, social, or volunteer groups or individuals such as artists. Examples of new audiences could include members of BAME communities, people with a disability, young people or local people from particular socio-economic groups.

Click here for more details.

Heritage Compass Business Support

Heritage Compass is a Business Support Programme funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered by Cause4 in partnership with the Arts Marketing Association and Creative United. This programme has been designed to grow resilience and invigorate the heritage sector across England. Begun in 2020, it is intended that over two years the project will work with 300 small or medium-sized heritage organisations from across the country.

Crossness Pumping Station

Participating organisations will benefit from a range of training, mentoring, and peer learning, through which each organisation will develop a clear business plan, a developed income strategy, and the tools and knowledge to respond to their specific needs and challenges. ​The programme is free to participate in and as part of the programme, a third of all applicants will be offered access grants of up to £5,000. The grant is primarily aimed at organisations with a turnover of less than £250k and with fewer than five staff, so ideal for many industrial heritage attractions.

A number of industrial heritage sites have already benefitted from the first round of support, including Crossness Engines Trust (above). Applications for organisations wishing to take part in the second round of support events are now open, with a closing date of 30th June. Follow the link here to apply for this second round of business support: Heritage Compass | Cause4