Summary of Need
The Studebaker National Museum faces the challenge of most museums and that is to meet rising operational costs, attract new audiences, and provide educational programs, special exhibitions, and public activities during good as well as tough economic times.
Opening at its current site in 2005, the Museum has operated as a model of efficiency. Adjacent to the Northern Indiana Center for History, the facilities share resources and marketing initiatives whenever possible.
For all its success to date, it is imperative that the Museum remain relevant to its audience, meet its operational needs in perpetuity, and respond nimbly to changes in the museum and attractions industries and a volatile economic marketplace.
Long Term Goals, 2013-2017
MEET CURRENT AND FUTURE OPERATIONAL NEEDS:
Create a stable, reliable, dedicated revenue stream to meet operational costs. The hard costs typically include salaries and benefits (including health insurance), utilities, maintenance and repairs, supplies and services, tools and repairs, collection care and insurance, data processing, rent, postage, shipping, and exhibit execution.
In recent years, costs for utilities, health insurance, shipping and postage, and travel have grown exponentially while interest income has dropped dramatically and admissions, memberships and retail sales have flattened—though they have rebounded somewhat in the last eighteen months.
Additionally, there are soft costs for stationery and printing, subscription and dues, office supplies, entertainment, marketing and advertising, professional fees, training and conferences, and volunteer recognition.
PROVIDE FOR ANNUAL MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS ON PHYSICAL PLANTS:
The Museum building is a 55,000 square foot facility with an elaborate and sensitive heating and cooling system that must function properly every day to maintain the required humidity level in the galleries as well as create a comfortable atmosphere year round for visitors and staff.
The lighting system is museum-quality in every way as well with very expensive parts and high maintenance costs. As in every public building, the flooring, wall treatments, restroom facilities, and elevators receive hard wear and tear.
The Studebaker Archives Center has the same systems and environmental requirements though much less routine wear and tear. The grounds also require maintenance, repairs, and replacement.
The Museum building is now nearly eight years old and all factory warranties have expired; therefore, the Museum must have the funds in place to cover major and minor repairs and/or replacement costs.
REMAIN RELEVANT IN THE MARKETPLACE:
Meeting the current and anticipated growing needs is good, BUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH. It is an indisputable fact that the Studebaker National Museum’s “natural” audience averages 59 years of age and is drawn largely from members of the Studebaker Drivers Club, the Antique Studebaker Club, and the Avanti Owners Association International. These clubs are having difficulty attracting young people to their ranks and young people interested in the hobby in general, are more attracted to NASCAR, Street Rods, or icons from the 70s and 80s.
Major investments in technology, advertising in major auto, museum, and attraction related publications (print or on-line), and attendance at appropriate professional meetings and conferences must be made to relate to the audience we need to attract.
MAINTAIN AND INCREASE PROFESSIONAL STAFF:
The Museum has operated without a full time Education and Public Programs Manager, a position that is critical to the successful operation of the Museum. While other staff members have provided “maintenance” services, this position must be filled to maintain Accreditation and provide the programming necessary to attract new audiences and stay relevant far into the future.
INCREASE EDUCATIONAL AND INTERACTIVE PROGRAMS AND EXHIBITS:
To attract new audiences and remain relevant in this environment, the Studebaker National Museum MUST respond to the emerging technological needs and habits of today’s youth and future generations. The Museum must present knowledge in hands-on, interactive ways to visitors to the Museum and in real time multi-media avenues to younger and technically-savvy audiences.
ATTRACT NEW AND DIFFERENT AUDIENCES:
The Museum must attract new and different audiences to remain relevant, or risk FAILURE. To this end, we MUST do the following:
• Target the audience we want – not the audience we have.
• Develop programs, exhibits and activities that are attractive to younger audiences and that can be delivered via the web and social media.
• Provide opportunities for more interaction through forums, lectures, etc. about
compelling, timely and relevant themes via use of social media and mobile technology that is available 24/7.
• Offer opportunities for access to the Museum by targeted groups and individuals
who cannot afford the admission cost.
• Partner with museum, education, and tourism industries to attract a critical mass of younger audiences into the Museum.
CURRENT FINANCIAL POSITION
Part of the Studebaker National Museum’s long term solution to financial sustainability is to create a new, dedicated revenue stream.
To do this the Museum must raise, invest, maintain, and grow an Endowment Fund that will provide a STABLE, RELIABLE, and PERPETUAL funding stream far into the future.
Additional annual funding is required to meet the Museum’s long term goals—A minimum of an additional $125,000 annually.
These additional funds can be met if the Museum has an Endowment Fund of $3 million. The fund will be managed by the Studebaker National Museum Foundation Board of Directors, Inc. Each year the corpus (principal) would generate between 4%-6% of investment return. The Foundation would decide what percentage of the return would be allocated to the Studebaker Board of Trustees, typically around 4%. This would generate the additional $125,000 per year needed to meet the Museum’s Goals.
The Studebaker National Museum Foundation, Inc.
In 2006, The Studebaker National Museum formed The Studebaker National Museum Foundation, Inc., an Indiana non-profit corporation whose purposes are to: Solicit funds and accept donations to be invested for the benefit of the Museum and provide income generated through investments to the Museum to perpetuate its growth and continued operations.
Part of The Studebaker National Museum’s long-term solution to financial sustainability is to create a new, dedicated revenue stream that can be used to leverage support from other sources. That can be accomplished with a fully funded Endowment.
Building an Endowment will help the Museum avoid dependence on public and private sources that may be strained.
An Endowment Fund will also contribute to the Museum in the following ways:
- Provide perpetual support to the Museum to enhance and increase educational programming and services for children
- Reduce dependence on public and private sources that may be overstrained
- Mitigate fluctuations in giving or expenses by providing a predictable revenue stream
- Increase the Museum’s financial assets through a greater rate of return
- Assure that operational expenses will be met in perpetuity
- Assist the Museum in being better prepared to accept major gifts of cash, stock and other securities