|Screenshot taken from the Museum of Science's Facebook|
fundraising page, found at this link: http://bit.ly/9y3cBX
Wait a minute, when is anything ever free? In fact, FundRazr's not either. It is true that FundRazr does not charge an initial fee to download the application, but from every donation generated through its application PayPal takes 2.9% (their standard fee) plus an additional $.30, and FundRazr also takes $.30. This may not seem like a lot of money, and for most of us it isn't, but when you consider that many of the Museum of Science's individual donations via FundRazr were between $1 and $5, on the small scale the percentage of that lost income is staggering. However, if we take a larger view and accept that the Facebook donations are likely coming from patrons, who would otherwise not have given to the Planetarium campaign through more traditional efforts, the end result may indeed justify the means.
As a believer in the power of social media and an advocate for museums, I am excited to see many new approaches to finding the financial support our institutions need today to build programs and capacity for the future. I think many museums will be watching to see whether the Museum of Science is successful in its online effort, and I am interested in how they measure the success of this social media appeal. Is it enough to meet their relatively modest initial goal, or does success come from a sustained online development effort? On the other hand, if the Museum falls short of its monetary goal, should this campaign be considered a failure, or rather a first step towards engaging the online community in the preservation of this vital institution? I look forward to learning more about the Museum of Science's social media fundraising program, and seeing if it continues to extend beyond the greater Boston area to reach its patrons of the future.