Hands On! Children's Art Museum

Start your own business plan »

Art School Museum Business Plan

Strategy and Implementation Summary

Through our singular focus on visual arts targeted to children, we are positioned as a premier source of arts education, enrichment and enjoyment for the entire Chicagoland area. Our offerings will include a diverse range of programs and activities on a rotated calendar basis, ensuring a fresh experience for even the most frequent visitors.

A key marketing strategy for Hands On! is membership growth as a means to drive recurring revenue. By extending a value proposition to our target market in the form of comprehensive membership benefits, we expect to quickly expand our membership. Closely related to membership are fees from general admissions. Targeted advertising and networking throughout a very active local community will allow us to focus on continually bringing first time attendees to the Museum. Once inside, we will rely upon the dynamic environment and our staff to spark interest in our programs and workshops. Print advertising during our first year will be limited. We plan to distribute flyers through local community groups and specific child-oriented groups that directly reach our initial target market. As we expand our presence in the Chicagoland area, we will scale our advertising accordingly.

On-site marketing for workshops and special events is an economical and effective way to generate revenue. By reaching attendees, we anticipate a high degree of interest and participation in activities such as workshops and special events.

A strong Internet presence is an opportunity to extend our market reach. Initially, our direct marketing efforts will be locally focused, but we will rely upon a dynamic and informative website to support our efforts, while broadcasting our message to a much larger audience.

Building and maintaining a solid database of potential customers will be critical to the success of our outreach programs. We are planning direct mail and telemarketing campaigns, and will offer general informational on-site outreach to all interested groups.

Hands On! has begun an extensive fundraising campaign to provide our initial start-up costs. Our current work includes the development of prospect lists of persons who may be interested in providing a financial donation, the solicitation of support from corporations and the local business community, the writing of grant proposals soliciting funds from Illinois foundations, and the temporary hiring of a professional fundraising consultant.

Approximately 60% of Hands On!'s annual revenue will be generated by a combination of membership, admissions, programming, retail sales, and related activities. The remainder of our funding will be generated by:

  • The writing of proposals to secure grants from foundations.
  • The solicitation of individuals, corporations, and small businesses.
  • An annual large scale benefit concert, family benefits, and special events.
  • A variety of small scale fundraising activities.

We anticipate that we will be able to manage our consumable expenses through the pursuit of in-kind donations from businesses and individuals, the creative use of found objects, and inexpensive means of purchasing bulk items.

Competitive Edge

We start with a critical competitive edge: there is no competitor we know of that can offer the unique art experience for children provided by Hands On! Through our singular focus on visual arts targeted to children, we are positioned as a premier source of arts education, enrichment, and enjoyment for the entire Chicagoland area. Our offerings include a diverse range of programs and activities on a rotated calendar basis, ensuring a fresh experience for even the most frequent visitors.

A key strategy for Hands On! is membership growth as a mechanism to drive recurring revenue. By extending a value proposition to our target market in the form of comprehensive membership benefits, we expect to quickly expand our membership. Our membership plan is structured to allow members to determine the frequency of visits to the museum and the degree of participation in special programming. We will offer four levels of membership that include an "Introductory Membership," "Friend," "Frequent Artist," and "Sponsor." All members will receive a ten percent discount on retail purchases, special programming, and events. Our quarterly newsletter will keep members informed and involved. Our diverse and calendar of programs and events, coupled with the uniqueness of the Hands On! experience, will deliver high member retention rates. 

Closely related to membership, but anticipated to be a larger source of revenue, are fees from general admissions. Through a grassroots approach, we will continually communicate the compelling influence and value that attendance at Hands On! will deliver to children and their families. Targeted advertising and networking throughout a very active local community will allow us to focus on continually bringing first time attendees to the museum. Once inside, we will rely upon the dynamic environment and our staff to spark interest in our programs and workshops. We will also employ PSAs on radio stations and well timed press releases as effective and affordable vehicles to deliver our message.  

Print advertising during our first year will be limited and placed in the less expensive local media such as the Beverly Review, Villager, and News Marketer. We plan to distribute flyers through local community groups. The Beverly/Morgan Park area has highly active community groups who provide a proven communication network throughout the area. These civic organizations coupled with specific child oriented groups (Indian Princesses, Scouts, AYSO Soccer, etc.) have shown to be receptive to similar messages in the past and directly reach our initial target market.  As we expand our presence in the Chicagoland area, we will scale our advertising accordingly: Chicago Parent magazine and the weekend sections of the major newspapers. 

On-site marketing for workshops and special events represents an economical and effective way to generate revenue. By reaching attendees, people who have already made the initial step to engage in our experience, we anticipate a high degree of interest and participation in revenue producing activities such as workshops and special events. 

We recognize that a strong Internet presence is an opportunity to extend our market reach in a manner consistent with our mission. Initially, our direct marketing efforts will be locally focused, but we will rely upon a dynamic and informative website to support our efforts, while broadcasting our message to a much larger audience. The goal of our site is to create interest, inform and entertain visitors, facilitate requests for membership, renewals and registrations, and generate additional revenue. We will direct visitors to our site through consistent references in all of our marketing materials and the strategic placement of links to our site from other related websites.          

Building and maintaining a solid database of potential customers will be critical to the success of our outreach programs. We are currently in the process of developing a database of contact persons at all local and Chicago-area schools, community groups, and private organizations whose programming serves the youth of Chicago and her surrounding communities. Examples include Chicago Public Library branches, local public, private, and parochial elementary and high schools, Chicago Park District fieldhouses, local and regional Girl and Boy Scout troops and service units, Indian Princesses and Guides, art supply stores, children's retailers, local churches, daycare centers and preschools, sports programs, teacher stores, local civic associations, and pediatric dentist and doctor offices. We are planning direct mail and telemarketing campaigns, and will offer general informational on-site outreach to all interested groups. Additionally, we are developing a prospect database of persons who may be interested in making a financial contribution and/or giving their time as volunteers.

Marketing Strategy

We start with a critical competitive edge: there is no competitor we know of that can offer the unique art experience for children provided by Hands On! Through our singular focus on visual arts targeted to children, we are positioned as a premier source of arts education, enrichment, and enjoyment for the entire Chicagoland area. Our offerings include a diverse range of programs and activities on a rotated calendar basis, ensuring a fresh experience for even the most frequent visitors.

A key strategy for Hands On! is membership growth as a mechanism to drive recurring revenue. By extending a value proposition to our target market in the form of comprehensive membership benefits, we expect to quickly expand our membership. Our membership plan is structured to allow members to determine the frequency of visits to the museum and the degree of participation in special programming. We will offer four levels of membership that include an "Introductory Membership," "Friend," "Frequent Artist," and "Sponsor." All members will receive a ten percent discount on retail purchases, special programming, and events. Our quarterly newsletter will keep members informed and involved. Our diverse and calendar of programs and events, coupled with the uniqueness of the Hands On! experience, will deliver high member retention rates. 

Closely related to membership, but anticipated to be a larger source of revenue, are fees from general admissions. Through a grassroots approach, we will continually communicate the compelling influence and value that attendance at Hands On! will deliver to children and their families. Targeted advertising and networking throughout a very active local community will allow us to focus on continually bringing first time attendees to the museum. Once inside, we will rely upon the dynamic environment and our staff to spark interest in our programs and workshops. We will also employ PSAs on radio stations and well timed press releases as effective and affordable vehicles to deliver our message.

Print advertising during our first year will be limited and placed in the less expensive local media such as the Beverly Review, Villager, and News Marketer. We plan to distribute flyers through local community groups. The Beverly/Morgan Park area has highly active community groups who provide a proven communication network throughout the area. These civic organizations coupled with specific child oriented groups (Indian Princesses, Scouts, AYSO Soccer, etc.) have shown to be receptive to similar messages in the past and directly reach our initial target market. As we expand our presence in the Chicagoland area, we will scale our advertising accordingly: Chicago Parent magazine and the weekend sections of the major newspapers.

On-site marketing for workshops and special events represents an economical and effective way to generate revenue. By reaching attendees, people who have already made the initial step to engage in our experience, we anticipate a high degree of interest and participation in revenue producing activities such as workshops and special events.

We recognize that a strong Internet presence is an opportunity to extend our market reach in a manner consistent with our mission. Initially, our direct marketing efforts will be locally focused, but we will rely upon a dynamic and informative website to support our efforts, while broadcasting our message to a much larger audience. The goal of our site is to create interest, inform and entertain visitors, facilitate requests for membership, renewals and registrations, and generate additional revenue. We will direct visitors to our site through consistent references in all of our marketing materials and the strategic placement of links to our site from other related websites.         

Building and maintaining a solid database of potential customers will be critical to the success of our outreach programs. We are currently in the process of developing a database of contact persons at all local and Chicago-area schools, community groups, and private organizations whose programming serves the youth of Chicago and her surrounding communities. Examples include Chicago Public Library branches, local public, private, and parochial elementary and high schools, Chicago Park District fieldhouses, local and regional Girl and Boy Scout troops and service units, Indian Princesses and Guides, art supply stores, children's retailers, local churches, daycare centers and preschools, sports programs, teacher stores, local civic associations, and pediatric dentist and doctor offices. We are planning direct mail and telemarketing campaigns, and will offer general informational on-site outreach to all interested groups. Additionally, we are developing a prospect database of persons who may be interested in making a financial contribution and/or giving their time as volunteers.

Fundraising Strategy

More than one-half of Hands On!'s annual revenue will be generated by a combination of membership, admissions, programming, retail sales and related activities. We estimate that memberships and admissions combined will account for a third of our annual revenue. See the following Funding Forecast table and the Funding Monthly chart.

The remainder of our funding will be generated by the following activities:

  • The writing of grant proposals to secure grants from Illinois foundations.
  • The solicitation of members of the Board of Directors and other individuals for financial contributions.
  • The solicitation of corporations and small businesses for financial support.
  • The pursuit of large scale in-kind donations from major retailers that provide the materials and supplies that we will need. They include Borders Books and Music, Lakeshore Learning Store, and Microsoft, among others. We will offer a sponsorship agreement that will provide exclusive sponsorship in their industry or market, the option to decorate the chosen sponsorship area with suitable company materials, positive PR in all printed materials and special programming, and pride in their participation in a project that is educational, charitable, and enjoyable.
  • An annual large scale benefit concert featuring a top name performer.
  • Family benefits and special events.
  • A variety of small scale fundraising activities including Shop and Share days at local supermarkets and bookstores, affinity campaigns such as a "Day at _______" in which a percentage of retail sales for the day are donated to our organization, art auctions, raffles of donated items, large tag sales, and movie benefits, among others.

Hands On! has begun an extensive fundraising campaign and we are currently devoting our energies to this end. Our current work includes:

  • The development of primary and secondary prospect lists of persons who may be interested in providing a financial donation. We plan to follow-up with personal phone calls as well as a direct mail campaign as soon as we receive an advance ruling of tax-exempt status.
  • The solicitation of support from corporations and the local business community. We are pursuing in-kind donations of money, time, and supplies from corporations and local businesses.
  • The writing of grant proposals soliciting funds from Illinois foundations. Research thus far has included seminars at the Donor's Forum in Chicago on using the library, as well as one on the "ABC's of Grant Writing;" extensive research into the funding and operations of Illinois-based nonprofits whose mission is to fulfill their purposes as educational and charitable organizations; extensive research time at Donor's Forum using the Foundation Search computer service and the books and videos in the library. Grant proposals will be sent as soon as we receive an advance ruling of tax exempt status.
  • The temporary hiring of a professional fundraising consultant to direct us toward foundations that will fund the seed money to cover start-up costs, as well as to help develop a long-range fundraising plan.
Funding Forecast
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Funding
Membership $27,000 $29,700 $32,670
Admissions $66,360 $72,996 $80,296
Culture Bugs/Art Colony/Apprentice $45,198 $49,718 $54,690
Family Wkshp/Film & Concert Series $4,260 $6,100 $6,710
Birthday Parties/Rentals $3,025 $3,328 $3,660
Outreach Programs $12,900 $14,835 $17,060
Curiosity Shop $18,200 $20,020 $22,022
Foundation Grants $50,000 $55,000 $60,500
Corporate Sponsorship $12,000 $13,200 $14,520
Annual Family Benefit/Events $45,000 $50,000 $55,000
Affinity Campaigns $3,700 $4,070 $4,477
Total Funding $287,643 $318,966 $351,605
Direct Cost of Funding Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Membership $1,130 $1,243 $1,367
Admissions $0 $0 $0
Culture Bugs/Art Colony/Apprentice $2,020 $2,222 $2,444
Family Wkshp/Film & Concert Series $1,800 $3,300 $3,300
Birthday Parties/Rentals $693 $762 $839
Outreach Programs $720 $828 $952
Curiosity Shop $9,100 $10,010 $11,011
Foundation Grants $180 $198 $218
Corporate Sponsorship $120 $132 $145
Annual Family Benefit/Events $3,500 $3,800 $4,100
Affinity Campaigns $40 $75 $75
Subtotal Cost of Funding $19,303 $22,570 $24,451

Strategic Alliances

We have forged several beneficial relationships with various organizations and are currently working on establishing others.

The President of Saint Xavier University (Richard Yanikoski, xxxxx, Chicago, IL) has offered Hands On! complimentary use of banquet and building facilities for meetings and fundraising benefits, as well as offering to review written grant proposals. SXU has also agreed to establish an internship program with Hands On! whereby art and/or education majors will serve as part-time junior staff members.

Martha Anderson of Lothair, Inc. (xxxxx., Blue Island, IL) has committed to an in-kind donation of graphic design services for the Hands On! logo and layout design of stationary.

Paul Krutulis, Joslyn Construction Co. (xxxxx, Chicago, IL) has agreed to provide an in-kind donation of architectural services.

Lawyers for the Creative Arts (xxxxx, Chicago, IL) will provide any legal services required on a pro bono basis.

Jim Lindsey, CPA (xxxxx, Chicago, IL) will provide pro bono accountancy services.

Tom McGourty of Gomembers, Inc., (xxxxx, Lombard, IL) a leading provider of member-based management software, has agreed to provide an in-kind donation of their software. 

Hands On! currently has six artists committed to providing products to be sold through the Curiosity Shop, and plans to expand this number to about twelve artists. Approximately 75% of the retail items available in the Curiosity Shop will be sold on a consignment basis, with 25% of the retail sales going to fund Hands On! programs.

Local examples of organizations that are candidates for co-marketing include the Beverly Art Center, Heritage Gallery, Spectrum Art Supplies, and  Lakeshore Learning. These organizations will benefit from a shared effort that creates increased awareness of art related activities for children.

Chicago area alliances may include the Old Town School of Folk Music, Gallery 37, and Woman Made Gallery, among others. We are in the process of developing a complimentary relationship with Woman Made Gallery to combine our outreach efforts, share gallery shows, and provide ongoing artistic support.

Milestones

The following table and chart show the specific implementation milestones.

Milestones
Milestone Start Date End Date Budget Manager Department
Non-profit status application 2/25/2001 3/1/2001 $565 KK Marketing
Business plan 3/1/2001 4/1/2001 $110 NM Marketing
Grant writing seminar 3/11/2001 3/11/2001 $140 SJ Marketing
Funding plan training 4/1/2001 4/9/2001 $1,100 KK Marketing
Logo design 4/3/2001 6/30/2001 $0 NM Marketing
Business cards 7/16/2001 7/20/2001 $120 NM Marketing
Grant applications 3/19/2001 5/1/2001 $0 SJ, KK Marketing
Stationery 7/16/2001 7/20/2001 $250 NM Marketing
Curriculum development 5/1/2001 8/1/2001 $0 KK Marketing
In-kind donations 5/1/2001 10/1/2001 $0 KK, SJ, NM Marketing
Location selection 7/1/2001 8/1/2001 $0 KK, SJ, NM Web
Buildout of space 9/1/2001 12/1/2001 $14,000 KK, SJ, NM Web
Office equipment and supplies 10/15/2001 11/15/2001 $7,000 SJ Department
Press releases/advertising 1/1/2002 1/15/2002 $1,200 NM Department
Art supplies 10/15/2001 11/15/2001 $1,750 KK Department
Hiring of staff 11/1/2001 12/15/2001 $100 KK, SJ Department
Web site design 10/1/2001 12/1/2001 $1,700 NM Department
Outdoor signage 11/1/2001 12/15/2001 $1,400 NM Department
Totals $29,435