Case Study | National Museum of the Royal Navy

Crowdfunding a conservation project

The National Museum of the Royal Navy, established in 2009, tells the story of the four fighting forces of the Royal Navy; constituent members include the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth (including HMS Victory); the Royal Marines Museum at Eastney; the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton; the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport and Explosion, the Museum of Naval Firepower, Gosport and HMS Trincomalee (Hartlepool)

Conserving the HMS M.33

HMS M.33 is a unique survivor. Launched in May 1915 this vessel is the sole remaining British veteran of that year’s bloody Gallipoli Campaign, and also of the Russian Civil War which followed. Only three British warships from the First World War still exist and HMS M.33 will be the only one open to the public on August 6th, in the year of the Gallipoli centenary.

In honour of the centenary crowdfunding was used by the National Museum of the Royal Navy for the very first time to raise funds for the completion of the conservation of HMS M.33. Moreover, the campaign helped to promote and expose the project to broader and new audiences. After researching a range of different crowdfunding platforms Indiegogo was chosen as it has a flexible funding plan, which allows users to receive the raised funds even if the target is not reached. The next important step was creating realistic perks that would appeal to their audience and that NMRN would be able to fulfil. These perks are used in crowdfunding as incentives, offered to contributors in exchange for their support.

The campaign

The initial response from supporters was global and very positive, managing to raise nearly half of the target in the first trial. They established good relationships with Australian-based media who were able to feature details of the campaign in their coverage. The campaign was featured widely on digital platforms via emails in e-newsletters, on social media pages (particularly Facebook, Twitter) and a dedicated YouTube film was produced and presented by the Community Engagement team, as part of a wider vlog series.


It was treated as a pilot for future crowdfunding projects, exploring the opportunities and benefits of this type of fundraising. NMRN are now looking at how to adjust perks to make them even more appealing to the audience and will test more creative ways to keep the momentum going through the entire campaign period.


Number of people who contributed: 306 people

Average donation: approximately £30
Week 1 - £3,557
Week 2 - £2,652
Week 3 - £1,130
Week 4 - £1,897
Total = £9,236 representing 48% of the target


£5 x 100 - e-Certificate acknowledging donation
£10 x 40 - Social media shout-out (specially designed graphic) plus an e-Certificate

£25 x 110 - Entry tickets to M33 (single attraction tickets) plus an e-Certificate
£100 x 50 - Unique limited-edition specially designed postcard of M33 by a Portsmouth-based photographer and entry tickets to M33 plus an e-Certificate
£500 x 4 - Exclusive preview of the Gallipoli Exhibition with a curator talk and entry tickets to M33 (adult all attraction ticket) for two
£1000 x 3 - Tour of M33 with a curator after the ship has been opened to the public and exclusive preview of the Gallipoli Exhibition with a talk and refreshments, for two
£3000 x 2 - VIP Private ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the M33 with a dedicated curator and exclusive preview of the Gallipoli Exhibition with a talk and refreshments, for two.

The most popular perk was the entry ticket to M33 plus e-Certificate for £25 each, which sold out.

Since we hadn’t done a crowdfunding campaign before, it was difficult to know what success looked like. We set a target of £19,150 to mark the significance of the centenary date and it was a creative hook to the campaign but to all intents and purposes this was an arbitrary amount. The media coverage we received off the back of the campaign was very beneficial. It really captured the media’s imagination and the value of that coverage was massive to us and enabled us to establish some really key contacts which will be useful in the run-up to the actual opening of the ship. Colleagues were very interested to see how the campaign was progressing and it challenged their perceptions about online giving and how to grow a different audience. We were very pleased with the amount raised and the interest it generated and would certainly consider running another campaign.

National Museum of the Royal Navy

Tips on running a campaign

NMRN have these tips for running your own crowdfunding campaign:

  • Make your campaign relevant to your community
  • Think of your audience when deciding your perks. Think what it is more interesting to offer and how much your contributors will be willing to pay for it: the £25 perks were the most frequently claimed in this campaign
  • £100 perks raise the most money and often make up nearly 30% of total funds raised
  • Try and keep the momentum going. Your campaign should be long enough that you have time to build interest and reach your audience, but not so long that it becomes background noise.
  • Establish milestones with creative content
  • Ensure that all channels to give are available, particularly for those less confident with online giving.

With thanks to Jacquie Shaw and National Museum of the Royal Navy