Your Art Collection Database Can Be a Fundraising Tool

Elysian Koglmeier | September 14, 2021

Image courtesy of Micheile, Visual Stories on Unsplash

Learn how art institutions are using Artwork Archive to drive engagement and increase revenue and donations. 

The needs and creativity of our Artwork Archive clients never cease to amaze us.

We did not intentionally build Artwork Archive as a fundraising tool. Artwork Archive provides artists, collectors and organizations powerful tools to manage their artwork, career or collection. We’ve learned from the ingenuity of our clients that we are indeed more than just an art database.

During COVID arts organizations became creative with the ways that they engaged with their supporters. Here’s how arts institutions are using our tools to drive engagement and increase revenue and donations. 


Use online exhibitions to fundraise

The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park, Florida suspended normal operations in the spring of 2020 in response to the pandemic. The closure happened during their biggest signature event and fundraiser—the Winter Park Paint OutThe museum team quickly pivoted and modified their plein air festival into an online exhibition and sale. 

An unexpected benefit of bringing the fundraiser online was that they saw sales outside of their community. They were not limited to just those that could attend the event in person. Artists were able to showcase more works. They weren’t restricted to the physical limitations of the gallery walls. 

"Utilizing Artwork Archive has made it possible to exponentially expand our outreach and has made it possible to present our Winter Park Paint Out event virtually during this challenging time"- Debbie Komanski, CEO/Executive Director of the Polasek Museum.


Increase visibility with an online presence 

COVID taught us that we can reach further than our local communities with the aid of virtual platforms. At Artwork Archive we saw many art institutions create online exhibitions and share out their collections with communities near and far.

These instititions created Public Profiles hosted on Artwork Archive's Discovery platform, sent out Private Rooms to engage VIP contacts, and easily embedded their artworks, exhibits and artist profiles onto their websites -- all from their Artwork Archive account.

The Lilley Museum of Art at University of Nevada, Reno is thrilled with the new engagement they’ve received from utilizing Artwork Archive’s Public Profile.

“Artwork Archive not only helps us with collection organization and accessibility but also visibility. It has been incredible to see how many new patrons got to discover The Lilley through Artwork Archive. When one looks for a specific artist on a search engine, if that artist is part of our permanent collection, our Artwork Archive page shows up on their search. We are so happy with all of the facets of the program, including our enhanced online presence.” Vivian Zavataro, Director & Chief Curator at the John & Geraldine Lilley Museum of Art at the University of Nevada, Reno

Screenshot of the Lilley Museum of Art's Public Profile


Solicit donations through your CMS

Artwork Archive tracks and manages artworks, contacts, locations, exhibitions, maintenance and more. Recently we’ve seen the “more” expand to donations. 

The Mask Museum in Phoenix, Arizona is a museum without walls. Organized by the Cultural Coalition, the museum is in the process of building a facility to store its amazing mask collection. Needless to say, fundraising is crucial for this process and budgets are slim. So, they decided to subscribe to Artwork Archive to help organize and manage not only the permanent collection, but the development of the museum as well.

In addition to creating artwork records, they created records for various donation levels, i.e. $50, $100. They then use Artwork Archive’s various marketing tools like the Public Profile to share out these donation opportunities. Supporters can easily pay via a Paypal integration and all of this is tracked and reportable from within their Artwork Archive account. 

The mission of the Cultural Coalition is to provide community engagement through unique cultural programs dedicated to the education, promotion and development of indigenous artists in Arizona. We’re proud to be a part of this incredible community.


Build stronger relationships with donors

If your donor base is growing it may be hard to keep up with all of the information, especially if you don’t have a dedicated development staff member.

Make relationship management easier. Create a contact profile to ensure you have a detailed record–never lose sight of an interaction. 

See what gifts your donors have given in the past and when. Forgot if you already shared the donor prospectus? See when you last shared a report, document or Private Room with your patrons. Make note of your last communication. Keep track of key dates like membership renewals or anniversaries. 

Children’s Hospital Colorado made the switch from Filemaker Pro to Artwork Archive so that they could easily share their art collection both internally and externally. With Artwork Archive, they generate inventory reports and beautiful Private Room to share artworks with the Hospital’s Foundation, who will in turn share it with the donor. The hospital’s donors are thrilled to see their donated artworks hanging on the walls and learn more about how the hospital is utilizing the gift. 


Cultivate supporters into future donors

Are you tracking supporters that haven’t donated yet? Those relationships are important to manage too. Gather contact information from your event’s attendees whether they are in-person or virtual. Upload these contacts into Artwork Archive so you can group them into potential affinity groups. 

Use the Contacts feature to manage your volunteers. Keep track of their contact information, note their availability and interests, and schedule their volunteering.

Create reminders from your Artwork Archive account and sync them to your calendar so you never forget!

Decrease donor attrition 

Set reminders so that you don’t lose touch with your donors. Don’t lose track of key details that could keep your donors engaged–like their interests, past participations, and any key documents or communications that could help stimulate conversation in the future. 


Increase revenue

Despite widespread lockdown lifts, digital transactions continue to gather pace. This is due to a number of factors -- for one, the pandemic normalized online purchases when traditional galleries were closed, millennials are turning into “big spenders” on art, and employment levels are remaining stable (some industries are even struggling to employ their businesses). If interested in online art sales, you can learn more within the ‘Resilience in the Dealer Sector: A Mid-Year Review 2021’ report, authored by Dr. Clare McAndrew, renowned cultural economist and founder of Arts Economics.

Here at Artwork Archive we’ve seen a number of nonprofits host art sales. These virtual transactions act a  fundraisers, but also support local artists and the creative economy.  

Arts and Health at Duke saw an increase in art sales when they made the switch to Artwork Archive and shared their rotating exhibitions with the Public Profile.

The response has been truly incredible. Requests for purchasing artwork has basically tripled,” shares Jennifer Collins-Mancour of Arts and Health at Duke.

The Point O’ Woods Arts Association hosts a summer show every year in which they sell artworks. During the pandemic in 2020 many of their community members could not visit the exhibition so they brought the show online with Artwork Archive. The show was such a success and the online sales component was so easy that the Point O’ Woods Arts Association continued their virtual shows despite the lockdown lifts.

"The virtual show was a big hit - in the time of Covid it was so nice to extend our reach and make people who couldn’t come feel included. Artwork Archive is so easy to work with! Thank you for all your support to make it a smooth launch." - Point O' Woods Arts Association

Revenue streams can come from other places as well–your organizations could consider rentals, licensing and merchandise–all trackable within Artwork Archive. 


Sell merchandise to boost your brand

Did you know that you can track runs and reproductions within Artwork Archive? Are you selling totes? Mugs? Posters? You can easily track these reproductions (and their sales) within Artwork Archive. Even better, with the Public Profile and website embed, you can easily share and sell these items from your own website and on our Discovery platform. 


Artwork Archive is the control hub for your art collection. Keep your team and mission on track with a robust online art database. Start a free trial today. 

Share This Article
Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. Cookie Policy