Open House Melbourne on the power of existing networks
Open House Melbourne was one of our success stories from Plus1 2014/15. We spoke with CEO Paul Gurney about Open House Melbourne's fundraising strategy.
Tell us about your fundraising strategy for this campaign.
Open House Melbourne aimed to promote cultural philanthropy among our strong network of individuals and organisations, which span the architecture, design, planning and development and education industries.
We engaged our Committee of Management to approach their networks to seek out potential donors that connected with the intrinsic value of Open House Melbourne’s program.
How would you describe your Plus1 project and what are the outcomes you hope to achieve?
We understood that for continued long-term growth we needed to nurture a culture of philanthropy within our networks. By attaining DGR status and launching our inaugural patron program Open House Melbourne has added a new income stream to our already diverse funding mix.
We also wanted to establish a culture of giving within our Committee of Management and Association Members, people that are directly connected to Open House Melbourne and have been delivering the event on a volunteer basis since 2008.
Do you feel more confident in your overall fundraising strategy and ability to achieve results?
What this particular fundraising campaign has achieved is a new culture of how to support Open House Melbourne.
The organisation has grown significantly since the first event in 2008 and as a result our funding mix has become more sophisticated, the patrons program sets the foundation to attract more substantial forms of giving in the future, such as major gifts or endowments.
Did the fundraising activity bring new donors? If so, any tips on how you cultivated them?
Our patron program established a new way to support Open House Melbourne as well as developing new relationships.
Philanthropy is about supporting the values of an organisation and it was important that we connected with donors that understood us.
I think that choosing the right approach for each donor is important; there is no standard way to initiate these conversations. It is important to tailor the approach and ensure that it connects on an intrinsic level rather than a commercial one.
Have you increased knowledge and skills in any aspects of identifying, obtaining and maintaining partnerships in your organisation?
Through this campaign I understand better how philanthropy is perhaps more aligned to cultural organisations than sponsorship arrangements. The benefits of a cultural organisation’s activity are often intangible and sometimes difficult to quantify, philanthropic relationships focus on a donors beliefs and values and their connection to a purpose.
Do you see Plus1 leaving a positive legacy in your organisation?
The cultural shift that our patrons program established will no doubt continue to grow in years to come. As Open House Melbourne establishes a new year-round program, and as we approach our ten-year anniversary in 2018, we will continue to develop relationships with donors that are passionate about architecture, design and the built environment.