The Heritage sector in the UK is arguably one of our nation's best assets, helping contribute billions of pounds linked to tourism, jobs and GDP.
But since emerging from pandemic times, there's a dual pressure to attract both donors and apply for funding.
So how can individual locations and organisations stand out from the crowd, and claw back some of that lost time and donations?
Read more: Levelling Up and Heritage Sector Funding
Out of bad, comes good
However, there are some positives to be gained. One such being the public acknowledgment of how crucial the arts are to society. Over the last 3 years, we have seen strong and continued support of the heritage sector, showing the public still care and want to help.
It is therefore up to these organisations to get creative with their content, reach out to new and existing supporters, and build meaningful donor relationships through innovation.
|The public's desire to give paired with the increase in digital transformation, makes for an exciting opportunity!|
Heritage & Digital - what are the barriers?
Digital transformation is a relatively new concept, which has only accelerated since the pandemic. There is a hesitancy to update processes with digital tools available. Something we have seen in other charitable industries, where budgets are stretched, resources are limited and demand is increasing.
Potential barriers could include:
- Digital immaturity: there is a lack of digital skills training within the team.
- Too Expensive: the organisation has no budget and/or lacks funding in order to buy and implement these digital tools.
- No buy-in: stakeholders or senior team members don't see 'digital' as the right fit for heritage organisations.
- Alienating stakeholders: there is a fear of leaving older or less digitally literate demographics behind in the process.
The heritage sector is not alone in its fear of the digital unknown. However, it is worth noting that as an industry, it is one of the most innovative and resilient when it comes to facing new challenges.
What are the benefits of digital?
1. Building an online presence
Using your website, along with social media and marketing comms to reach a larger audience, will boost both awareness and engagement, opening you up to a whole new supporter pool.
Your organisation can then build an online network of supporters, collaborators, fellow industry members etc. This not only gives you access to a new audience, but a community who can then share resources and support each other through challenging times.
It also gives you an idea of what others in your industry are up to.
You could collaborate with the other organisations or take part in national festivals or sector specific events.
Read more: Heritage event fundraising
2. Inclusive donation options
This could mean:
- Online giving
- Contactless donations
- Cash bucket collections
There is always more to be done when it comes to providing a range of inclusive donation methods to your supporters. It increases the likelihood of donations and helps you gain insight into how visitors want to give in future.
Read more: Reopen culture with conscious fundraising
3. Implementing data capture
As more organisations start to use technology as a way to record key visitor data, we are seeing the true value this data can have.
What can data be used for?
- Future marketing communications such as newsletters
- Increasing donations through direct debit signups
- Gaining insight from donor behaviour
- Providing donation updates
- Showing your gratitude
Digital tools like our Donation Station's 'Conversation Starter' help to quickly and seamlessly capture visitor data, without any security risks.
4. Experimenting with immersive design
It has been exciting to see how Museums and Galleries are using technology to enhance the visitor experience. Whether its virtual tours, online exhibitions or interactive displays, there is a world of possibility when it comes to innovation in the Heritage Sector.
Don't forget Gift Aid!
Using digital to integrate Gift Aid into your processes, not only saves time but helps to boost funds at no extra cost to the donor.
Read more in our Gift Aid guide