Thursday, 1 October 2015

Crowdfunding campaign of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem

In an earlier post I asked if crowdfunding might be a pathway to financial sustainability for DIY popular music archives, museums and halls of fame. A current crowdfunding campaign by The National Jazz Museum in Harlem on the site Indiegogo suggests that some community archives are turning to crowdfunding as a source of much needed cash to keep their operations going.

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem's crowdfunding campaign was prompted by the museum's anticipated move from East 126th Street to 58 West 129th Street near Lenox Avenue in Harlem, New York. As they explain on their campaign page:

This move is a great opportunity to upgrade our operations. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to purchase new computers, stock our exhibit and office spaces with new furniture and make our new location technologically cutting-edge. ... If we don't reach our goal of $10,000, the money that we raise will still go towards technology upgrades for our exhibit and office space.

22 days into the campaign the museum has raised $330 USD. While only 3% funded to date, there are still 38 days left for the campaign - plenty of time to gather some momentum? Time will tell. Even if $10,000 proves a little ambitious, every dollar acquired through fundraising efforts such as this is meaningful to organisations which operate with tight budgets but big hearts. This is even the case for Smithsonian Affiliated organisations like the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

As a 501(c)3 Non-profit Arts Organization with a mission to "preserve, promote, and present jazz by inspiring knowledge, appreciation and celebration of jazz locally, nationally, and internationally" even the smallest donation can have a big impact on what the National Jazz Museum in Harlem is setting out to achieve. As they state on the campaign page:

Your contribution is vital to the Museum's long-term goals of preserving knowledge and promoting appreciation of jazz music, this quintessential American art form, and ensuring its permanent home in Harlem.
I look forward to seeing how this crowdfunding campaign pans out. There will certainly be lessons here for other DIY music archives, museums and halls of fame that are thinking about raising money this way.