"Evidence of me" becoming "evidence of us": A case study of the policy, processes and responses of selected GLAM institutions to personal donations of collections and artifacts
Research problem: Donors are important contributors to collection development in GLAM institutions, yet interactions with potential donors and communication of procedures and policies is under researched. To address the gap this research project investigates the policies and processes of selected institutions to manage personal donations and examine the challenges and responses this has raised. Methodology: A case study research design used two methods of data collection for each institution . Nine participants form five GLAM institutions were interviewed using semi-structured interviews, three each at the two larger institutions and all were conducted face-to-face. A donation webpage content analysis was performed for each of the five participating institutions. Results: Collection policies and principles were found to be critical components of all institutional appraisal processes, although there was evidence of some flexibility in implementation. Relationships with donors were based on collaboration and trust. Participants valued these relationships and invested time building them, facilitating respectful discussions over more challenging aspects of donation including restrictions and ownership. Institutional donation webpages were more diverse, demonstrating that institutions held different views over the value of this platform as a donor communication and information resource. Implications: While the selected institutions have, from their perspective, developed positive donor relationships this research provides some recommendations regarding website presence to make webpages a more valuable resource for donors. Future research could focus on the donor perspective of gifting to the selected institutions, or investigating website use by donors and whether it is perceived as an important source of information.