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 Post subject: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:07 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:12 am
Posts: 17
Location: Pasadena, CA
Hi everybody,
In a few years, it will be time for the steam crew at the Orange Empire Railway Museum to perform a 1472 day inspection on Ventura County Railway no. 2. Some of my fellow volunteers and I have been discussing ways to raise money for the inspection and repairs. Here are some fundraising avenues I've been considering:

    Offering sponsorships for tubes and flues. Sponsors could be rewarded with recognition in the newsletter, and we could provide a photo or video of each sponsor's tube being put into the boiler.

    Framed, prominently displayed diagram of all tubes and flues with the names of sponsors.

    Starting a society with a fancy name (perhaps the Eccentric Cranks?) for donors who give donations above a certain threshold (perhaps $5,000 or $10,000). Members of the society could be rewarded with a special dinner or throttle time once the engine is running again.

    Taking a page from the fundraising practices of universities and orchestras by offering the naming rights to endow the engineer's chair and fireman's chair.

    Creating short, simple videos showing the work being done, and uploading them to our Facebook page (Orange Empire Steam Shops) or Youtube.

    Holding a small monthly event with snacks and refreshments next to the locomotive aimed towards the general public and museum members. At the event, a member of the steam crew would give a short talk, and visitors could informally talk with the steam crew and see the work being done. A short fundraising pitch could be made at each event. I call the event "Cake with a Train"

    Photo shoots seem to be a perennial favorite of other organizations, and certainly we could do one, but I don't think we would raise very much money from it.

For a long time, we have been running a small, perennial "Yard Sale" on a table next to the locomotive. In the yard sale, we sell railroad-related items that are donated by volunteers and museum members. We also sell Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops, and sell old railfan magazines for 50 cents each. I would estimate that we make about $1000/year from the yard sale. The money helps a little (having $1000 is better than not having $1000), but I think the yard sale's real value comes from providing visitors with an additional way to engage with the locomotive. Also, if a railfan magazine finds its way into the hands of a little kid, we might have a new volunteer in a decade....

I'm sure that almost every steam group in the country has faced the problem of "How do we get enough money for the next 1472 Day Inspection?" I am especially impressed by the public relations acumen of the Nashville Steam Preservation Society. So, my question to you guys is, what techniques have you tried, what worked, and what didn't work?

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Dan Parks
Orange Empire Railway Museum Steam Crew


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 Post subject: Re: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:27 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:36 am
Posts: 318
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
I've been our publicity and fundraising person for the restoration of Alaska Railroad 557 for the last six years. We have about 17 years before our first 1472 becomes due, but for restoration funding we were successful in getting sponsors for all 30 flues and 150 tubes. Send me a private message and I can share some of the materials we used to give you ideas.

If I'm still around and coherent when our 1472 comes due, I would suggest it be treated like a capital campaign. It would start by lining up some big donors and then work with them to make their donation a challenge grant to encourage others.

We are strong believers in public outreach. We give talks on our locomotive restoration to historical groups and service organizations about six times a year. Sometimes they generate money from individuals and the organization, sometimes they don't. At a minimum, we sell a few pins and hats. We also have a booth for the ten days or our annual winter carnival. We have a donation can and sell hats and pins. We don't make a lot of money, but we do make a lot of friends and several have become volunteers, donors, or business in-kind donors. We post something on Facebook at least once a week. If there is no restoration news, we post history of the locomotive or the Alaska Railroad. All of this is to give us visibility and credibility with the public. Visibility and credibility make it easier to raise money.

Would one of the TV stations or newspapers feature the overhaul in an article when you are ready to start your campaign? We have probably appeared in about 20 articles and news reports over the last six years. Do you have a relationship with other groups with a shared interest? Model railroad clubs? How about the Riverside Live Steamers? Several of our volunteers are also active in model railroad clubs and individually and as an organization they have provided financial support.

ARR 557 spent about 50 years in a museum in Moses Lake, Washington. We have a number of donors from that area. Have you done any outreach in Ventura County?


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 Post subject: Re: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:51 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5660
Location: southeastern USA
6-ET wrote:
"How do we get enough money for the next 1472 Day Inspection?"


You earmark and collect money from what it earns in use in a fund to bankroll it. If it doesn't earn revenue in use, it may not be the sustainable interpretive tool you need to fulfill your mission. Think about it not apart from but as an integral component of your operation that needs to contribute as well as consume resources.

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Santayana: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it."
Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:36 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:44 pm
Posts: 116
Image

Are you utilizing the asset to its greatest potential? Just as an example, the insurance payment to cover operation of a steam locomotive can be the single largest expense on a daily basis if the locomotive is only used a handful of days each year. Its much easier to earn back that (hypothetical) $10,000 cost if you have 60 operating days to do it rather than 10. Do you know how many riders per trip it takes to break even? Can your organization handle more operating days than you are currently scheduling? Do you plan fire up days to allow for revenue operation or are they a "necessary evil"? We as an industry spend upwards of a million dollars on a regular basis restoring steam locomotives and then many of us use them less than 30 days per year to avoid a basic boiler wash. Spread over 15 years that's 30% use of available service days and a $2,500 / day profit threshold to return to break even.

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Nick Turinetti
Operations Manager
North Shore Scenic Railroad


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 Post subject: Re: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:56 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
Posts: 2267
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Another Playboy video

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Steven Harrod
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Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
Institut for Systemer, Produktion, og Ledelse


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 Post subject: Re: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:09 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:28 pm
Posts: 338
Location: Northern WV
Why not cut up the old tubes into short pieces, clean them and mount on plaques? Each person sponsoring a new tube could get something tangible for helping.

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Roger Cole


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 Post subject: Re: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:37 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 849
Location: Tucson, Arizona
WVNorthern wrote:
Why not cut up the old tubes into short pieces, clean them and mount on plaques? Each person sponsoring a new tube could get something tangible for helping.


That's a very good idea. You could also do a plaque with names of higher level contributors or engrave contributor's names on the plaques with cleaned pieces of tube. Technology that is available today has driven costs downwards. An organization as large as OERM could easily justify the purchase of a computer controlled laser engraver for those types of promotions.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:50 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:36 am
Posts: 318
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
We don't give away flue sections with a contribution, but we do sell them. Volunteers cut them into sections, another volunteer who has a computer controlled plasma cutter adds the lettering. That is followed by a dip in clear coat to protect the "patina." Actual cost, about $.10. Sale price $45. A certificate of authenticity explaining what they are helps to sell them.

Uses I have heard of are flower pot holder, door stop, and candle holder.

We tried to sell tube sections, but there was negligible interest in them.


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 Post subject: Re: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:06 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:07 am
Posts: 705
Location: Philadelphia Pa
Fundraising for the next 1472 should begin the day the first match is lit on the current 1472, IMO.


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 Post subject: Re: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:07 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:48 pm
Posts: 25
Location: St. Louis, MO
junior wrote:
Fundraising for the next 1472 should begin the day the first match is lit on the current 1472, IMO.


That's actually something I've questioned pretty frequently; why not fundraise for the steam locomotive -WITH- the steam locomotive? Why wait until it's cold?


Considering I'm on the other side of the country, local photo shoots (while I love the images that result!) wouldn't be much of interest to me. Videos and such are much more accessible, and personally I gobble up every bit of information I can find on any ongoing steam restoration; the more news the better.


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 Post subject: Re: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:17 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1498
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
6-ET wrote:
Starting a society with a fancy name (perhaps the Eccentric Cranks?) for donors who give donations above a certain threshold (perhaps $5,000 or $10,000). Members of the society could be rewarded with a special dinner or throttle time once the engine is running again.
Speaking as someone who has fallen for that kind of lure, and heard the objections from other museums about why they don't do it, I can assure you that it will work much too well. You will wear out your priceless artifact rewarding the donors, who aren't part of your operating crew.


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 Post subject: Re: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:40 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:34 pm
Posts: 725
Agree with Dave and Fireman that the budgeting once running is the main thing to fund the 1472. Which may not help you now but it is what steam engines need. Lease agreements need this as well. Hopefully the 1472 won't be as expensive as the first one usually is. But the budgeting and boiler tx, maintenance programs are what can take the sting out of the 1472 costs. Just like growing old that 1472 will come around much faster than people think. I think the movers and shakers up in AK and maybe the folks on the Santa Fe 4-8-4 are good roll models to look into. Very impressive restorations with very impressive fund raising efforts. Really takes a great person or small group of people to tackle this area but without them not much is going to happen. I wish I had the drive to be that kind of person but am not, thankfully others are. A personal project that is every bit as important as welding flexible sleeves or doing acceptable boiler repair of any kind. Probably more important really. Good luck on your 1472. Regards, John.


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 Post subject: Re: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:14 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
Posts: 2267
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
JimBoylan wrote:
6-ET wrote:
Starting a society with a fancy name (perhaps the Eccentric Cranks?) for donors who give donations above a certain threshold (perhaps $5,000 or $10,000). Members of the society could be rewarded with a special dinner or throttle time once the engine is running again.
Speaking as someone who has fallen for that kind of lure, and heard the objections from other museums about why they don't do it, I can assure you that it will work much too well. You will wear out your priceless artifact rewarding the donors, who aren't part of your operating crew.



But.... you measure engine time in integer days, right? So it really does not cost anything if you offer 1 hour of throttle time at the beginning or end of the day you already planned.

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Steven Harrod
Lektor
Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
Institut for Systemer, Produktion, og Ledelse


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 Post subject: Re: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:42 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 391
Well the first question is.... are there not dedicated funds to keep it running coming from museum revenue? If not... why not?

I think naming rights are slightly tacky, but if someone was willing to foot the bill for the entire project by all means put their name under the engineers window!

I’ve bought small pieces of the 4449 and 700 from the museum in Portland. Those guys know a few things about fundraising, they built an entire new building when needed and they manage to keep mainline engines up and running.


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 Post subject: Re: Fundraising Techniques for 1472 Day Inspection
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:05 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:36 am
Posts: 318
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
I agree that establishing a fund for the 1472 day inspection is good business practice, but how does one determine how much needs to be available for work that will be done in about 15 years?


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