Membership organizations looking for ways to entice constituents who have demonstrated an interest in their organization but haven’t made the commitment to join are sure to find inspiration from the Brooklyn Museum, which recently launched a socially networked museum membership called 1stfans.
Brooklyn Museum launched 1stfans on Dec. 5, 2008, on its blog and officially launched the program at the museum at its January Target First Saturdays, an evening of free programs of art and entertainment. 1stfans membership offers the opportunity to take part in monthly face-to-face events with museum staff and other museum members, and access to an exclusive, online relationship with the museum via social-networking sites like Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.
To learn more about the initiative, we spoke with William D. Cary, membership manager for the Brooklyn Museum.
FundRaising Success: What is 1stfans, and why was it started?
William Cary: 1stfans is the first socially networked museum membership. It is a $20, paperless membership that offers monthly events at the museum and access to online content via the social-networking Web sites Facebook, Flickr and Twitter. Shelley Bernstein, our chief of technology, and I created the group together, and the two of us maintain it.
FS: What demographic are you trying to reach with this initiative?
WC: There are two primary demographics we’re trying to reach with 1stfans. The first are our monthly Target First Saturday visitors, who repeatedly come to the museum for this free event but have not, historically, joined the museum as members. The second group is our Web followers, who live both near and far, and enjoy our online initiatives but also have not, historically, joined as members.
We wanted to create a new structure for membership that makes membership more appealing for these two groups, while also providing benefits that appeal to them given their relationship with the museum at a low cost (both for us and for 1stfans). Our overall goal is to grow the museum’s community of supporters through personal relationships with 1stfans both on-site and online.