Our Impact

National Museum of Australia

The challenge

The National Museum of Australia, located in Canberra, brings to life the rich and diverse stories of Australia through compelling objects, ideas and programs. The Museum is a statutory agency in the Federal Government’s Communications and Arts portfolio and is devoted to exploring the land, nation and people of Australia.

In 2014, the Museum identified the need, alongside most Government intuitions, to become a more self-sustaining body.  The leadership was acutely aware that there were opportunities awaiting in the philanthropic space and that it needed to project a more compelling proposition to donors within the arts and cultural sector. The Museum was committed to establishing a pathway to grow the organisation’s capacity to attract support.

The approach

Philanthropy Squared was engaged to undertake a 360-degree audit of the Museum’s development programs and provide the strategy and tactics required to develop sustainable fundraising initiatives.  Working alongside the CEO and other members of the executive, Philanthropy Squared applied a whole of organisation approach, deep diving into the organisational culture, staff structure, data management, giving trends, internal and external communications and brand positioning.

The holistic review informed a tailored strategy for investing the time, energy and resources needed to build capacity across the Museum and develop clarity of purpose to link philanthropic support to a powerful institutional vision.  An important component of the work involved educating staff, the Board and other organisational leaders about the art and science of philanthropy and the role it can play in transforming organisations.

The result

Today the National Museum of Australia is a confident philanthropic proposition.  In the last three years, the Museum has made a substantial investment in Development staff, embedded a professional rigour around the discipline and has developed a robust and compelling case for support. There is also greater understanding and appreciation at executive level of the role philanthropy can play and the investment required for long-term success.



Photography courtesy of the National Museum of Australia.