Membership Solutions--New England Museum Association Workshop


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Presented at “Weathering the Storm: Strategies For Surviving in a Challenging Economy," a New England Museum Association (NEMA) Workshop, June 16, 2009, at Longyear Museum, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Updated 3/2012: In addition to continuing to serve on the board of trustees of the Marlborough Historical Society (, Lee's current projects include The History List (, a platform for publicizing history-related sites and organizations across the country, and eventicize (, a tool for leveraging your social network to raise awareness of your events.

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Membership Solutions--New England Museum Association Workshop

  1. 1. Membership SolutionsLee WrightThe Marlborough Historical Society Board of TrusteesPresented at “Weathering the Storm: Strategies For Surviving in a Challenging Economy” A New England Museum Association Workshop Tuesday, June 16, 2009 Longyear Museum Chestnut Hill, MA
  2. 2. Membership Solutions
  3. 3. Membership Solutions Who has the problem that needs solving, the member? Or us? What problem are they trying to solve?
  4. 4. Membership Solutions Who or what is a “member?” Why do we want them? Is our definition limiting our success? Do we really want them? Or is their money we’re after? Or is it grant money? Or are they a statistic for the year-end report?
  5. 5. Q. Would you belong to yourinstitution?
  6. 6. Q. Do you belong to hisorganization?Or her organization?
  7. 7. What does“membership”mean?
  8. 8. What does“membership”mean? Belonging = Community Saving money = Savvy consumer Supporting a worthy cause = Validation Guilt = Relief
  9. 9. What does“membership”mean? Meetings? Volunteering / working?
  10. 10. Membership on whoseterms?
  11. 11. Segmenting• Motivation—For an historic society, for example . . . – “I’ve been a member for years.” – “It’s the right thing to do.” – “We’re looking for something for the family to do this weekend.” – “I’m interested in the history of . . .” – “I’m researching my family.” – “My parents are from Marlborough. I live in San Diego now.” – “I’m researching a paper for school.” – “I’d like to learn more about my old house.”• Each segment has different interests• Different communications tools will reach different types of individuals – Mail – The newspaper – E-mail – The Web – Twitter/Facebook/others – Signs
  12. 12. Programming and communication examples
  13. 13. Spring Historic Homes Tour and Tea
  14. 14. Signs in the yards of houses on the tour
  15. 15. Signs at businesses throughout the city
  16. 16. Sold tickets online • Used• More tickets sold this way than via through any other mean • Enabled people to start at any point on the tour
  17. 17. We received this homemade scrapbook of WWII service announcements in the mail
  18. 18. By scanning and enlarging the pages, we turned it into a large exhibit for Veterans Day weekend
  19. 19. Two board volunteers compiled the largest list ofMarlborough WWII veterans that exists anywhere
  20. 20. The event drew a large crowd, including many veterans
  21. 21. “The Amazing Race,” created by the local Lion’s Club, includedus as a stop, which brought many new people to the Homestead
  22. 22. Community outreach is publicized on our site
  23. 23. We use Twitter to remind people about events
  24. 24. We display historic photos online using Flickr (Technical details)
  25. 25. We use StatCounter to get highly-detailed information about how people find us . . .
  26. 26. And were surprised to learn where they come from . . .
  27. 27. Our active site comes up first in Google
  28. 28. Google Maps is another tool
  29. 29. We added photos and other information that is seen by anyone who searches for us (Technical details)
  30. 30. This also gives us more insight on how people find us
  31. 31. We added links and pictures to Marlborough’s Wikipedia page and quickly found that it’s a source of traffic to our site
  32. 32. We add our events to The History List so more people find out about our organization and events Updated 3/2013
  33. 33. We use The History List widget to power the event listings on our site so we can enter them in one place and they show up on our site and on The History List Updated 3/2013
  34. 34. Totaling the costs• Web: $7 to register/year (• Monthly: ~ $5/month (• Document hosting/streaming: $0 (• Tracking: $0 (• Google Maps: $0 (• Wikipedia: $0• Photos: $0 (• Newsletter: $0 (• Twitter: $0 (• Facebook: $0 (• The History List: $0 (
  35. 35. Lee WrightThe Marlborough Historical Society Board of