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 Post subject: Preservation Project Outreach and Marketing Tips
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:23 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:34 pm
Posts: 160
As someone who is conducting their first restoration project on anything railroad related what tips would you want them to know in the long run? How should they approach others about the scope of the project and what tools can they utilize to advantage? I've setup a Facebook page and a fundraiser with the eventual goal of creating a full website. Is this the right route to take, what did you do differently on your first take? Thanks,

Cameron


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 Post subject: Re: Preservation Project Outreach and Marketing Tips
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:25 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1043
Location: Youngstown, OH
Here are a few tips from 20 years in the preservation business.

1) You should not expect that anyone else will care about what you are doing.
2) Expect to fund the project largely yourself.
3) Expect to do most of the work yourself.
4) A Facebook page will not bring in one dollar's worth of contributions.
5) The crowdfunding fad has largely passed.
6) Everything is much more expensive to do than you think it is.
7) Historic preservation projects do not feed anyone nor do they clothe anyone and will not arouse the interest of most foundations and grantmaking agencies who are in the business of providing basic human needs.

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Rick Rowlands
Steel Industry Preservationist, Narrow Gauge Railroader and ALCOhaulic


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 Post subject: Re: Preservation Project Outreach and Marketing Tips
PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:50 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 1:15 pm
Posts: 1260
Location: Henderson Nevada
I don't know if Hot Metal is right.. but his isn't wrong...

Outreach and Marketing is hard... and the challenges for preservation projects are significant...

My rules might be...
1) understand your project and its goals
2) have the basics in place: 501c3, mission statement, goals and an elevator speech (one minute to explain what and why someone might support your project
3) have a web site and facebook page... keep them current, relevant, and fun
4) welcome participation (this is harder than you might think)
5) don't be afraid to ask for help (money, things, volunteers) but don't be upset if you don't get them at first, or second, or ....
6) be more than saving "old 97" (or the last Alco or last FM) be about the design, about the people who created it, about the places it was used... about the why... why is was part of your community
7) have clean restrooms and visitor amenities...

Randy

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Randy Hees
Director, Nevada State Railroad Museum, Boulder City, Nevada
http://museums.nevadaculture.org/nsrmbc
http://www.nevadasouthern.com/
https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfNevadaSouthernRailway


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 Post subject: Re: Preservation Project Outreach and Marketing Tips
PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:17 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 4:03 pm
Posts: 718
Cameron Wolk wrote:
I've setup a Facebook page and a fundraiser with the eventual goal of creating a full website.


Get at least a domain and a placeholder website that has your critical information on it, in addition to a social media presence.

Put a newsletter sign up link (look into MailChimp, it's free for lists with less than 2,000 subscribers), contact information and some contextual information. Build the site in the background but have some sort of web presence beyond social to build your search engine presence.

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Kelly Lynch
Vice President
Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, Inc
http://www.fwrhs.org


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 Post subject: Re: Preservation Project Outreach and Marketing Tips
PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:26 am
Posts: 9
Many good points have been made, there was a thread going a few months ago concerning preservation & conservation practices. You will find some good tips there also.


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 Post subject: Re: Preservation Project Outreach and Marketing Tips
PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:44 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:17 am
Posts: 154
Location: New York
Cameron Wolk wrote:
As someone who is conducting their first restoration project on anything railroad related what tips would you want them to know in the long run? How should they approach others about the scope of the project and what tools can they utilize to advantage? I've setup a Facebook page and a fundraiser with the eventual goal of creating a full website. Is this the right route to take, what did you do differently on your first take? Thanks,

Cameron


Hi Cameron!

The biggest mis-step you can take is to go out into the world and say, "Help me raise a million dollars for the restoration of this thing! It's important to save history and you can help!" As Hot Metal Rick pointed out, that's the quickest way to bore your potential donors and the public. It's akin to the scene in Back to the Future where the lady is proudly shouting SAVE THE CLOCK TOWER rattling a nearly empty can of nickels and dimes. That was the old way to think of fundraising, trying to fill jugs with pennies in hopes that "someday" the work would be done.

I don't know what your project is, but the best thing you can do is to establish clear goals for the project. Then break those down into achievable short-term goals. For instance, it's easier to fund raise for small amounts of money that result in immediate return. We have a project to restore a caboose at the museum right now. We have chosen to fundraise for each aspect of the work - acquisition, transport, metal repair, sandblasting and painting, interior work, window glazing, and so on. Donors (and potential donors) want to see that their donation is resulting in real, tangible results. It's also more satisfying for your volunteers to see individual tasks get completed and crossed off the list.

Can you share more about your project and what you plan to do?

-otto-

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Otto Vondrak, Trustee
Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum, Rochester, N.Y.


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 Post subject: Re: Preservation Project Outreach and Marketing Tips
PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:10 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2438
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
All of this is good advice. I might add:

Be 100% honest and upfront with the public and potential donors about your organization. Also be transparent. Donors today want both honest and transparency. No quicker way to scare away donors than to be viewed as being less-than-honest.

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David M. Wilkins

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 Post subject: Re: Preservation Project Outreach and Marketing Tips
PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:43 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1043
Location: Youngstown, OH
Another point to think about. My earlier list applies more to newer efforts than to more established efforts. There is a big difference between a relatively unknown entity/person and someone who is well established in the minds of potential donors. When someone who is well known in the industry announces a project, people generally know that there are skills, resources and capable people that will be brought to bear. So there is a bit more confidence that donations will in fact be spent on that project in a frugal and effective manner.

Newer, less well known people will have to clear that hurdle, and that is why I said that you should expect to have to initially shoulder much of the burden yourself or among your core group. Once you have established yourself and shown your capabilities then you create an impression among people that you know what you are doing, and as time goes on raising funds becomes a bit easier.

When I started doing preservation work 20 years ago it was incredibly difficult to raise any money. But I was obsessed and just kept plugging away at it and as time passed and I reached milestones I found that for every goal that I reached, the next one became a bit easier. I am 43 now and I do not believe that I would have been successful had I attempted the restoration of the J&L 58 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. I needed to build myself and the organization up to the point where we felt that we now have the abilities to take on the project and actually complete it. The ability to accept and embrace the concept of delayed gratification will probably be your most important asset, as will having unending optimism, stubbornness and an attitude of doing whatever it takes to advance the project forward.

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Rick Rowlands
Steel Industry Preservationist, Narrow Gauge Railroader and ALCOhaulic


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