Bainbridge Island Museum of Art opened in 2013, with the decision to offer free admission to all visitors, relying solely on donations from visitors and patrons. Until BIMA ran its first test of DipJar in 2017, they were exclusively accepting cash for visitor donations. Nearly 50% of Americans no longer carry cash, meaning that the museum was missing out on a large pool of possible donors who simply could not give because of the payment limitations.
Since implementing DipJar in addition to the cash boxes, BIMA has seen donations increase to where the three DipJar take in as much as all of their cash boxes every month.
In 2017, BIMA worked with Masters-level students from the School of Visual Concepts to explore different ways to improve the visitor experience. During this process, students pitched DipJar as a way to increase donations and connect with cashless visitors. At that time, cash boxes were accounting for roughly $1,000 in donations each month.
BIMA first tested DipJar during the solar eclipse in 2017, where they were able to offer eclipse glasses in exchange for donations. Without previously announcing that they would be able to accept card donations for the first time, they received an additional 20% in donations due to people who had not brought cash.
Before DipJar, BIMA relied solely on three cash boxes, and information cards telling visitors about their donation-only mission. While many visitors are happy to donate, there were a significant portion of visitors who simply didn’t have the cash to give.
“It’s been life-changing – we’re now pulling in as much from the DipJars on a monthly basis that we were getting from three separate cash boxes.” – Andrea Williams, Finance Manager
Following the successful pilot, BIMA implemented three permanent DipJars in tandem with the cash boxes. Each DipJar now collects as much as all three cashboxes combined, each month. In addition, the museum has a fourth “roving” DipJar that they use during special events, such as visiting artist exhibitions or lectures, to help cashless visitors donate.
Bringing Students to Art
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art believes art is for everyone and is committed to furthering this mission to include students by underwriting many field trips to the museum so that a trip to the museum comes at little or no cost to the school. By connecting the cause directly to donations and making it simple to donate on the fly, more donors are supporting this and other specific programs that the museum runs. For example, a visitor is more likely to donate to transportation for an elementary school class who takes a field trip to the museum than contributing to a general fund.
Simplified Donations Mean Increased Giving
Overall, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art has seen a substantial increase in donations from visitors, and attribute the additional donations to the ability to accept donations with a card. As American society continues to trend away from carrying cash, organizations like BIMA will need to continue to search for alternate solutions and provide options for a large pool of potential donors.