Category Archives: fundraising

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Validating the SYNOPSIS Project training course

The Royal Museums are at the forefront of the important European project called SYNOPSIS, aimed at identifying a new professional figure, absent in the European landscape: the storyteller and cultural fundraiser.

From May 10 to 12 2022, the partners of the project, from Italy, Belgium, Greece and Spain, met in Turin, in Musei Reali, to verify and validate the contents of the course, online and free, created during the two years of work.

case study mapOn the project Web site the training course and some good practices that emerged during the work have been made available.

There are some interesting examples mapped online, like the initiative “Art is a common good”.  Support Casa degli Artisti”, has been designed in order to find the funds to prevent the closure of the only public residence for artists in Italy, the Casa degli Artisti in Milan during the pandemic period.

At the end of this campaign, the goal – to collect 20,000 euros in 45 days – has been greatly exceeded! Find out more

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Learning and Training event in Turin

In May a learning and training event took place for the Synopsis – Storytelling for Cultural Heritage Fundraising project in Turin, Italy. Besides getting to know the city and visiting the amazing exhibitions currently on display in Musei Reali Torino

The participants worked through hands-on testing of the 4 modules of the training materials developed during recent months, in order to offer high quality training content on #storytelling and fundraising knowledge and skills for the SYNOPSIS target groups.

Check out the video to have a look at our experiences there!

The participants thanked Musei Reali Torino for hosting such a wonderful event and the project partners for developing useful professional development content.


Telling stories in the Big Apple: Tenement Museum

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We tend to consider museums as places that curate materials, objects and resources and present interpretations of them. However they are also places where experiences can be shared through storytelling as they are spaces for empathy.

Stories share personal experiences in an authentic and easily accessible form. They feel familiar, yet enable us to step into the shoes of others. They are full of detail, but leave space for us to insert our own thoughts, feelings and memories.

Stories can be used to help us make sense of the world. Through stories new perspectives can be shared that may change how we think and feel.

An example of this is a museum in the heart of the Big Apple will give you the experience of the past, in the New York of the late 1800’s, when, with the increasing arrival of immigrants, the cosmopolitan and multicultural society that characterises America today.

The Tenement Museum is built inside a building where more than 7,000 immigrants from various countries found hospitality between 1863 and 1935. Inside you can discover using the technique of storytelling the stories of some immigrant families, who left details and memories of their new life in New York.

On the website of the museum there are also many virtual paths to keep the activities going even during Covid lockdown.

Find out more about the museum

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Intangible Cultural Heritage

Intangible heritage consists of nonphysical intellectual aspects, such as folklore, customs, beliefs, traditions, knowledge, and language. UNESCO maintains a list of intangible cultural heritage, which are considered by member states to be in need of protection.

DESOPAEX is an example of a project promoted by Wazo Coop that is committed to the sustainable development of Extremadura’s heritage through social cooperation and citizen collaboration in accordance with the 2030 Agenda.

DESOPAEX is the first non-profit social cooperative in Extremadura (Spain) with the primary objective of achieving the social valorisation of the intangible material heritage of the rural environment to meet the needs and reduce the inequalities of the Extremaduran population.

One of the strategic areas of action of this programme is culture, which plays an essential role in inducing dynamics of resilience and social, economic and demographic transformation, in order to develop the research, dissemination, training and promotion activities planned by the programme (thematic publications, Sustainable Heritage Gala, concerts, conferences, webinars, etc.). ..), its founders launched in March 2022 a crowdfunding campaign through their social networks, sharing their story and motivation, to raise funds that has been a success!

To learn more about DESOPAEX and its crowdfunding campaign, take a look at:


Project sponsors at the Museo nazionale Scienza e tecnologia Leonardo Da Vinci

Museums perform many different roles, as they educate, inform, entertain and image They provide spaces for social interaction and reflection. And they make valuable contributions to their local communities. Museums are likely to involve active participation and they may even play active roles in enabling social change.

More than ever after the first analyses regarding the impact of Covid-19 on cultural enterprises, fundraising is outlined as a perfect strategy to obtain general benefits for all the partners involved. Museums need money to maintain their collections. Most museums are only able to display a small proportion of their artefacts, but they are required to maintain, preserve, and store other donations.

There are three main sources of funding for most museums, these are public funding, donations and endowments, and earned income

When fundraising, museums need to ensure active regular communications with donors and other supporters. These groups need to be Informed about how their contributions impact on the work being done and the value to the institution and society.

The strategy planned by the Museo nazionale Scienza e tecnologia Leonardo Da Vinci to involve donors external to the museum’s missions is called “project sponsor” where any sponsors, supporting specific initiatives, enjoy benefits such as greater visibility, multi-channel marketing, privileged use of event spaces, dialogue with the communities of reference and special personalised activities, also giving the possibility to customise the type of collaboration with the museum.

Project description (in Italian)

Museum Web site


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.

Find out more

Fundraising for Heritage Organisations

jane austen photoFundraising is essential for many heritage organisations such as museums, collections and galleries if they are to deliver the diverse and exciting range of activities they do providing public access to unique treasures.

This article tells the story of Jane Austen’s letters. In fact, Austen’s letters and books were donated to the Bodleian libraries in Oxford and Jane Austen’s home in Hampshire by Friends of the National Libraries, a charity dedicated to preserving the nation’s written and printed heritage.

Less than 160 letters written by Austen are known to have survived, and as such these two items of correspondence have been described as ‘hugely significant’. Both were addressed to her sister Cassandra, showing the author at two very different stages of her life.

In their campaign, the Friends of the National Libraries, in collaboration with a consortium of research libraries and author’s houses, appealed for public donations to prevent the Honresfield Library from being dispersed through auction sales

The campaign eventually raised over £15 million in donations, including £4 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. The largest private donor was Sir Leonard Blavatnik, who gave half the purchase price of the collection.

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The Synopsis project has created a fundraising module to support the training of those working in European cultural heritage. Find out more


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Explore the first SYNOPSIS Project training module

SYNOPSIS is an Erasmus Plus project looking at Storytelling and Fundraising for Cultural Heritage professionals. The project is producing an online training course to support the cultural heritage sector in developing storytelling and fundraising to engage interested people.4 steps diagram

The first module of the training course has now been produced for testing and piloting. It concerns the use of storytelling. Storytelling skills play an important role in helping connect people tp cultural heritage. Cultural Heritage storytelling is concerned with “communicating through stories”, creating narratives through which a cultural heritage enters into an emphatic relationship with people, managing to arouse public emotion. The purpose is to engage people to protect, exploit cultural heritage, and support it financially.

By improving their storytelling, professionals will be able to design a range of communication strategies and adopt digital media to be used in educating people and promoting culture and art.

By the end of the storytelling module, participants should:

– Be aware of using narratives and (serious) storytelling techniques
– Understand the use of storytelling processes and its main benefits
– Have explored and assessed digital storytelling and examples in fundraising
– Created an outline for a digital story using storyboarding
– Identify and select digital storytelling tools according to their own aims and needs and
Plan a digital storytelling campaign to promote engagement with target audiences.

Play the video: 7 tips on Storytelling for Cultural Heritage from Europeana

Visit the Storytelling module

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What is digital fundraising?

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Digital fundraising is fundraising using digital technology, which usually means fundraising online.

Digital fundraising can take place over a variety of different sources, such as mobile phones apps, text, and social media.

Digital fundraising has become one of the most popular and effective ways for organisations to maintain their interaction with donors and prospects.

A number of online fundraising platforms are being used, such as JustGiving to produce personalised campaigns, which raise awareness of the cause. Social media can also help spread messages quickly, and help your campaign.

Fundraising campaigns need to be compatible with mobile technology

Some examples of digital fundraising trends include:

–  Your web site:  including a donation button on your web site can be a powerful way to engage supporters
– Crowdfunding: allows a lot of people to make a small donation.
– Online fundraising : web sites like Just Giving or GalaBid can be useful as they allow supporters and volunteers to fund-raise on your behalf.
Social media: offers online tools to fundraise, for example using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.
Text donations: a quick and easy way to give
Online gaming: research has found that 17% of gamers donated while playing online, while over half (58%) said they would be interested
Email: Email can be a very effective way to communicate with supporters. Tools such as MailChimp, Constant Contact and Salesforce allow you to track your emails, such as who has opened them, how long they have looked at them for, and which links they clicked on.

You will be able to find out more in the training course being developed by the SYNOPSIS project team.

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Defining a cultural heritage CV

SYNOPSIS project partners have been working on the second project output, defining a cultural heritage CV:  This includes a definition of competences, a set of hard and soft skills for an innovative professional graphic

For the purpose, interviews of managers and fundraisers in cultural organisations that employ best practices in Storytelling for Fundraising have taken place in each partner country. The results are a useful Handbook of the skill sets needed.

Download the SYNOPSIS cultural heritage CV – the digital fundraiser and storyteller for cultural heritage organisations 

Currently the project team is creating of the third project output, a training program providing soft and hard skills for cultural storytellers and fundraisers.

The SYNOPSIS project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.