How Concord Museum’s campaign is paving the way for a New Museum Experience

The Concord Museum is the one place where all of Concord, Massachusetts’s remarkable influence on freedom and democracy is brought to life through an inspiring collection of historical, literary, and decorative arts treasures.  From Paul Revere’s ride to the town’s role in the abolitionist movement to the teachings of Emerson and Thoreau on conservation and the environment, Concord has long been at the epicenter of dramatic discourse about American life. The Museum’s nationally significant collection serves as a catalyst for changing exhibitions, extended classroom learning, dynamic programs and publications relevant to an ever-changing world.

In 2014, the Museum engaged Development Guild DDI to partner on a feasibility study followed by implementation of the largest campaign in the Museum’s history: Revolution: The Campaign for the Concord Museum. The successes of the $13M campaign were myriad and have positioned the Museum for substantial long-lasting impact.  

The campaign’s focal point was the building of a new education center; among many reasons, significant in that the Museum is on the national historic register which required extraordinary attention to the design details of the building and many approvals by the town’s historic commission and other agencies. The campaign also grew Concord Museum’s endowment at the same time that the organization increased its Annual Fund.  During the campaign, the vision for this expansion brought a new perspective to how prospects and donors saw the Museum.  This recognition contributed enormously to program growth that now extends far beyond the traditional history museum to one that highlights contemporary issues like women and leadership, climate change, and many others, and to partnerships with organizations like The Morgan Library, which set a new stage for The Concord Museum.

Highlights of the campaign include: the highest giving levels ever recorded for the Board of Governors (42%) and the Board of Trustees, 12% of the campaign was from first ever donors, and 70% of donors made their first-ever capital gift to the Museum.

Unanticipated in the campaign were transitions in both the Executive Director and the Director of Development. Because the Board of Governors was so strong and its commitment to completing the campaign so deep, both transitions went well and without disrupting the campaign effort. 

The campaign has left the Museum well-poised to succeed in its current major gift initiative, the $3M New Museum Experience (NME) which will complete its gallery and exhibition space.  Development Guild has continued its partnership with the Museum as fundraising counsel in support of the NME and in the on-boarding of the Museum’s new Executive Director Tom Putnam, as it relates to philanthropy.

Our deep experience working with arts institutions on first-of-their-kind and record-breaking campaigns has helped us be a strong partner to Concord Museum. We are proud to call them a client and to play a role in their continued growth and success.

Contact us to learn more about our campaign counsel services.