Steve Bell at Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museums tells us about some of opportunities the museum has taken advantage of over the past year and a half.
It’s strange, sometimes unusual benefit comes from strange sources. I’m guessing that the recent pandemic has been a thorn in all of our sides, but we have gained some odd things from it. Not least has been the very generous grants available, without which the financial future of the museum would be far less secure.
There have been other odd benefits too. During the first lockdown we decided to improve our social media presence. Once we got this up and running we now provide a blog entry at least once a fortnight telling people what is going on. We also figured that as they couldn’t come to the museum some might like to support us in absentia. We created a means of donating to the museum via the blog and web site. That lead to realising that we could allow membership renewals via the same route, new memberships quickly followed. Now around 25% of our memberships come in this way.
Prior to reopening the information providers were telling us that an increasing amount of people would be using credit cards to pay and use of cash would drop off. Part of a grant that we applied for was used to get a contactless donation pad. This now accounts for over a quarter of our donations. The shop has had a credit card machine for a couple of years, this now accounts for two thirds of shop sales, around 10% of this being donations.
Test and Trace also provided an opportunity. Being free entry we had always guessed the number of visitors each year. Test and trace meant that we had to record them, therefore counting them became a useful by-product. Interestingly it doesn’t look as if we were too far out with our guesses.
Adding another item to our test and trace sheets provided more information, we capture the outgoing post code (the first bit, eg NR34). A trawl of the internet found a spreadsheet that would tell you the distance between two outgoing postcodes. We now know how far people travel to the museum (we ignore that many are staying in the area, we use their home postcode).
*Don’t read past this if you’re not fascinated by numbers!*
We currently open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (plus bank holidays). It is interesting to note that on average people on a Sunday travel 36 miles, those on Saturday 53 miles whilst on Wednesdays it is 62 miles. Our daily cashing up sheets also show us that Wednesday’s visitors are more generous spending around 40% more than those on Sundays, Saturdays being between the two.
We also know that 23% of our visitors come from within 10 miles of the museum, 56% from under 25, 68% under 50, 82% from under 100, 98% under 200 with a further 2% from over 200 miles.
Fascinating the opportunities that lay within a thorn in the side.