Skagit Valley Hospital

Client Success Story

The Museum of Flight

Seattle, Washington
The Museum of Flight

The Museum of Flight is striving to be the foremost educational air and space museum in the world. It is a place where the intersection of flight and the human imagination is preserved, shared and, most importantly, used to set countless imaginations afire.

The Challenge

The Museum faced several unique challenges, including the need for ample and adequate physical space as the largest private repository of aviation history and artifacts in the country. Having never conducted a campaign at this scale, and with the goal of building on its success and inspiring the innovators of tomorrow in an increasingly technology-driven economy, the Museum of Flight engaged Collins in fall 2012 to test its plans and readiness for a comprehensive campaign.

The Approach

Collins served as counsel for the study as well as the four-year “Inspiration Begins Here!” campaign, which preserved the Museum’s collection, improved the visitor experience through enhanced facilities and exhibit spaces, expanded educational opportunities, and strengthened financial sustainability. Collins helped the Museum develop a compelling and urgent case for support, expand its development staff, and build a campaign leadership structure that engaged 65 volunteers, including affinity sectors in aerospace, Boeing, STEM education, and the Museum’s own volunteers and docents.

The Results

With 4,224 gifts, including 35 at $250,000 and higher, the campaign flew past its $77 million goal and raised over $79.5 million. Gifts of $1 million and higher made up 65% of all giving, including two gifts of $15 million from Bill and June Boeing and The Boeing Company. As a result, the Museum launched the Boeing Academy for STEM Learning, and the new Aviation Pavilion added 140,000 square feet of new exhibits, education, and event space and covers 19 of the most extraordinary aircraft in the Museum’s collection.

The campaign translates into a significantly higher number and greater diversity of people enrolled in the Museum’s educational programs, with an emphasis on underserved populations in the Northwest. This investment will ultimately be measured by the achievements of these youth—who will explore new frontiers, pioneer new avenues of invention, and secure a prosperous future for our nation and our world.

I know it’s an oft-used phrase, but working with Collins transformed the Museum’s culture of philanthropy. We went from being a one-dimensional department to having a full, mature fundraising operation. Certainly it’s wonderful to be able to do all the things we promised to do with the community’s generous investment, but really the most valuable thing we gained internally is the confidence that, with the right things in place, we can succeed.”

Trip Switzer
VP - Development / MUSEUM OF FLIGHT