Fundraising is not just about money

The Smithsonian’s “Digital Volunteers” program

smithsonian-imageWhen we talk about fundraising, we usually focus on the economic aspect of the issue, neglecting another important resource that people can donate to cultural organisations: their time.

A virtuous example of fundraising based on donating time rather than financial donations is the Smithsonian Institution’s “Digital Volunteers” program. In addition to the thousands of volunteers who already supported the organisation on-site, the program made it possible to make significant contributions online through several projects such as the Transcription Center, where people are invited to transcribe historic documents, or the suggestive Archives of American Gardens: Help us solve a mystery, in which people are required to participate in the “hunt” to identify unlabelled gardens across the United States.

Over 6,500 gardens and landscapes have been documented in the archives so far; they illustrate the work of hundreds of landscape architects and garden designers. The Archives are primarily photographic, a wide range of written information for each garden is also be available, including plans, planting lists, published articles, bibliographic citations, business records, and correspondence.

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