Free Idea Friday: Dueling Tip Jars

The first time I encountered this idea at a coffee shop, I thought it was ingenious! My husband and I had stopped in to buy our usual cuppa when we saw them. Two jars, one with a photo of Captain James T. Kirk and another with Captain Jean Luc Picard. The sign read “Vote for your favorite” and the cash inside each tip jar told us the rest. What on earth could we do? Choose between the two most exciting, inspiring and beloved starship captains of all time – OR – put money in both jars. So, obviously, we did the latter.

Months later as I was noodling on creative fundraising ideas, it occurred to me how easy it would be to appropriate this idea for museums. There are a variety of ways you could do it depending on your available resources.

Set up your own dueling tips jars

  • Put two favorite objects from your collection in opposing vitrines with cash collection boxes. All you need is clever signage to encourage visitors to vote with their dollars.
  • Use photos to create dueling tip jars for two beloved exhibits – you’ll do especially well if these are both nostalgia-filled exhibits for your adult audiences.
  • Create a webpage for online voting. This can be a simple Paypal-powered thing or a sophisticated go-all-out technology driven campaign. The key is to work with what you have.
  • Build a longer-term campaign to rank your visitors’ favorite objects or exhibits by pitting a series of them against one another and share the results via email, on social media and your website.

Most recently, I encountered the example pictured above. Harry Potter vs. Lord of the Rings. Seems like an easy choice? No?