Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

AAM – The Future of Financial Sustainability

TrendsWatch 2020 – The Future of Financial Sustainability, American Alliance of Museums, March 2020

TrendsWatch and COVID-19

Our sector is just beginning to assess the impact of closures, travel bans, cancellation of major events, and the implementation of social distancing. In the coming year, museums will struggle to contain the financial damage of the pandemic while supporting their staff and their communities as best they can. We hope that TrendsWatch will help museums lay the groundwork for the long-term path to recovery that lies ahead.

This year, the Alliance’s forecasting report provides a framework for examining any museum’s financial performance and thinking about long-term strategies for financial success. The report explores:

  • earned revenue
  • charitable income
  • government funding
  • capital (including income derived from financial investments)

Each chapter cites examples of emerging practices, points to signals of change, and profiles museums that have tried interesting (and successful) ways to cultivate income.

By exploring past disruptions in museums’ traditional business models and sharing some of the emerging practices for financial health, TrendsWatch: The Future of Financial Sustainability is intended to provoke honest discussion and swift action designed to help secure museums’ financial futures.

Use this report to:

  • support meaningful and robust conversation with staff and boards of trustees about financial planning
  • foster healthy conversations about integrating a museum’s financial needs into parent organizations such as colleges/universities or city/state government
  • provide context for exploring the museum’s financial goals, plans, and decisions with community groups, government officials, members, and supporters
  • improve your own financial literacy and understanding of emerging trends in museum finance
  • engage all staff members in understanding their role in the financial health of a museum

The digital edition of TrendsWatch: The Future of Financial Sustainability is available free to individual members and employees of member organizations.

  • Members: Claim your free PDF copy here (make sure to log in to your AAM account prior to purchasing to receive this free version).
  • Nonmembers can purchase the digital edition of the report for $10. Purchase your copy here.
  • Everyone can download a free executive summary of the report here:

Print copies are available from the Alliance Bookstore ($15 members/$20 nonmembers). [Coming in April!]

Book a lecture, presentation, or discussion about the topics explored in this year’s report through the Alliance Advisors and Speakers Bureau.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
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