Why WMA Portland 2010 (Nos. 12 and 35): Building a Fundraising Plan that Works

By James G. Leventhal

"Board and Staff Roles" from #wma2009 (photo Lydia Johnson)

There's a long list of reasons to be part of the Western Museums Association.  For example, the last email news update notes that WMA serves professionals during difficult economic times providing: a professional lifeline to the unemployed; a touchpoint for the retired and a springboard for those just entering the field; core networks of support for museum professionals throughout the region; and a true community for the exchange of ideas and expertise, and the sharing of resources.

The annual meeting and conference have an important convening component, for sure.  But really sometimes the most important things about the annual meeting are the meaningful sessions with the tangible takeaways that help us do the work we need to better -- reasons number #12 and #35 for why WMA matters.

This year's conference is WMA Portland 75, Register here The WMA Annual Meeting is always a great way to catch up on a variety of program areas across the museum field from collections to education, technology and experiential discussions to important and useful explorations about business and administration.

A perfect example from this year's conference will be session B5 "Building a Fundraising Plan that Works."  Here's the description below taken from the recently released preliminary program for PORTLAND 2010:

A strong development and membership fundraising plan is an essential tool by which to measure success and provide guidance. It is not as difficult as it might sound to create one. There are some tried and true methods that are helpful, and really it’s the anecdotal, the hands-on and unexpected experiences - the triumphs and the pitfalls - that round out the picture of this process. Join us as three fundraising professionals share their experiences with sound models as starting points.

The session will be on Monday afternoon October 18, 2010 from 3:45 pm – 5:00 pm and the presenters will include:

Together Bridget, J.S. and Anthony will deliver the tools you need to develop a fundraising plan for your organization. Whether you are small or large; whether your museum has a strategic plan with which to align the fundraising plan or not. It's a great way to communicate with your volunteers and leadership and an essential component of this necessary work both when resources are tight or plentiful.

And this great group of presenters display the depth of experience at the annual meeting and the myriad ways that careers are developed in and around the museum field.

Anthony Plamondon, The Lukens Company

For example, prior to working at The Lukens Company Anthony Plamondon was the Director of Membership and Development Operations at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA).  And prior to his time at MOCA, Anthony worked for varying companies that have focused on non-profit fundraising with a specialty in telemarketing.  As Vice President of SD&A Teleservices, Anthony oversaw operations for clients in the political, zoo, aquarium, and art community and worked on a variety of phone fundraising campaigns including: membership, annual fund, capital campaigns, monthly giving, acquisition, and upgrades.  Now Anthony works with a group of museums across the western region from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Pacific Science Center, the Bishop Museum in Hawaii, the Seattle Art Museum, to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

"Disquieted" at PAM (February 20 - May 16, 2010), 28 renowned artists from four continents explore our social condition and respond to the most compelling issues of the day (photo: Evrim Icoz)

John Stuart (J.S.) May, the Director of Development for the Portland Art Museum, is seasoned fundraising and communications professional and has worked with a wide range of local, regional, national and international nonprofit organizations. He and his teams have helped raise more than $250 million.  Prior to the Art Museum, for seven years J.S. led the fundraising practice for the Metropolitan Group, a Portland based social marketing firm. For the six years prior to MG he led the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation at Oregon Health and Science University through a highly successful $42 million capital campaign. Prior to Doernbecher, J.S. spent six years as the director of corporate support for Oregon Public Broadcasting. A graduate of the University of Oregon, J.S. volunteers for numerous nonprofit organizations and has served multiple terms as president of the board for both the Portland Schools Foundation and the Portland Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

The New Crocker, opening fall 2010!

And Bridget Keane's background is varied as well, with an important run as the Campaign Director for the venerable, trusted Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento.  The Crocker was the first public art museum founded in the West.  The Museum was established in 1885 and remains the leading art institution for the California Capital Region and Central Valley.

With thanks to Bridget's work with CCS (and more as a tribute to a core group of dedicated volunteers, supporters and the Crocker's now Mort and Marcy Friedman Director Lial Jones), the New Crocker museum will celebrate its Grand Opening this fall!  Now Keane is working on the UCSF Medical Center's campaign where there was recently announced a major $100 million gift from Lynne and Marc Benioff.

Let this group help you believe that success is possible today.  Get to WMA Portland 2010, then take back the tools this session will provide to bring planning and mission-driven values to your museum, your colleagues, peers, volunteers and to bring about positive change in the world.

If you can't make the conference, supporting materials will be available through this blogsite.  Stay tuned.

(By the way, renew your WMA membership through our new online membership system. Or if you prefer, you can mail in payments by check or money order to PO Box 8367, Emeryville, CA 94662. And if you have questions or concerns regarding membership, please contact us at westernmuseumsassoc@gmail.com.)




One of my favorite things about the WMA conference is that it is just at the right scale so I can talk with these experienced presenters. The program this year is full of great people like those on this panel. The west has such good resources, we are so lucky.

I'd love to help develop that list - thakns for asking! I just had the concept of one in my mind. And I've always wondered how many versions of "Rainy Day Woman" Bob Dylan did before he got around to settling on #12 & #35, so it's a bit of a tip of the hat.

And maybe also to a Borges Taxonomy kinda thing? How we like to sort and order?

And by the leading question of your comment, I'm guessing you knew all that? thanks, Lydia!

"...reasons number #12 and #35 for why WMA matters..."

Wait, somewhere there's a list of reasons why WMA matters? And there are at least 35 reasons on the list? Hmmm... I'm curious - who made the list and what's on it?

What a terrific overview of an important session. I can't imagine ANY museum today who wouldn't benefit from attending! See you in Portland!

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