Warhol Museum Adds New Position To Increase And Diversify Fundraising

Jan 4, 2018

Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum has an annual operating budget of around $5 million, and a newly created position "director of advancement" will be tasked with increasing revenue and diversifying where those dollars come from.

90.5 WESA’s Virginia Alvino Young recently spoke with Clark Crowley-Bunyard about his new gig.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

VIRGINIA ALVINO YOUNG: As the Warhol’s new director of advancement, you're tasked with securing funding for many different facets of the museum. What are some of the different revenue streams for the museum?

CLARK CROWLEY-BUNYARD: We receive funding through a number of different ways. If you become a member of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, some of that revenue goes to support the Warhol and the number of programs and exhibitions that we have. We also have a board of advisors. These are individuals who volunteer their time and also make generous contributions to the Warhol. And they also work to fundraise on behalf of the museum. Pittsburgh has a really strong foundation community. We receive quite a bit of support from the large foundations based here in Pittsburgh, as well as some small family foundations.

ALVINO YOUNG: Is there a revenue stream related to the assets that the Warhol holds, like traveling exhibitions?

CROWLEY-BUNYARD: Yes. It's very typical for an art museum to generate some revenue through the works that they hold. So a museum might reach out to us and say, "We're putting together a show of Warhol’s work. We would like to loan X number of works." However, the works that the Warhol has are getting older. It’s very expensive to ship these items, to insure these items, and as they get older we’re being more careful about who we're lending them to and how often they're hitting the road, if you will. So one of the big reasons behind my addition to the team is to increase the amount of contributed income that we have, as well as other members of our staff, who are trying to figure out different revenue streams.

ALVINO YOUNG: Are there any creative or experimental revenue streams that you're thinking about playing with, or that you've tried so far?

CROWLEY-BUNYARD: For a fundraising professional, you want a healthy mix of income. You want it to come from corporations based in Pittsburgh and across the U.S. You want individuals to be donating, you want members, you want foundations, so we’re keeping an eye on that. The Warhol also does host two signature events a year. And that special event revenue will go to support the work that we do as well.

ALVINO YOUNG: Pittsburgh does have a strong foundation community, and I think a lot of large-scale organizations have really leaned a lot on that type of support. Why is it important to diversify and not just fully continue to expect that amount of funding? Are the foundations' priorities changing? Could they change?

CROWLEY-BUNYARD: I think that’s a mix. I think priorities are changing. They will change. As your individual donor base grows, the foundation might take a step back. I also see foundations not only here in Pittsburgh but across the country really trying to figure out how much macro change they can make with a contribution. So they might not just be supporting the Warhol Museum, they might try to overhaul the entire Pittsburgh public school system. How many people's lives can we change at a macro level instead of supporting just one entity?

ALVINO YOUNG: In your new role, you're dealing a lot with individual donors, some of whom give on a large scale. Based on that, what have you learned about Pittsburgh's priorities and what people are concerned about? What role do people want the arts or the Warhol to play in Pittsburgh’s evolution?

CROWLEY-BUNYARD: I see a lot of individuals being really concerned with, you know, some of the struggles our neighbors might face, and view the Warhol and the work that we do as being able to combat that. So a lack of arts education is a great example in our neighboring school communities, and Warhol has done some incredible work around accessibility. We offer special programming for senior citizens who might be struggling with dementia. So these are all ways of the Warhol supporting our neighbors and introducing them into a facet of their lives that they might not readily have access to.