I hope your family and friends are doing well. I am certain that members of our family are affected both financially and personally during this pandemic. There is no doubt that our citizens and businesses need critical support to help all of us through these unprecedented times. We are closely watching the Washington negotiations to see how those may affect our organization. Your continued support is greatly appreciated and without it, we would not be able to remain viable and open for outdoor tours today.
Our primary strategy during the pandemic began immediately following our closure in March. Our simple strategy was to limit expenses to only those considered absolutely critical (utilities, staffing, etc.) and generate “some” revenue to help offset these expenses. As of August 1st, we have reduced our overall budget by approximately 40%. To do so, we have decreased staffing from our already strained capacity, increased our expectations on the remaining staffing, and cut all additional non-critical costs and vendors.
On the revenue front, ticket admissions continue to only be about 10% of last year. All of our other earned revenue sources such as overnights, event, retail, and simulator remain shuttered. Frankly, your continued support of our organization through donations and volunteerism are the only reason why we are able to continue operating on a limited scale and fund critical costs. Every donation helps regardless of whether it is a recurring monthly contribution of $10, sponsoring the paint needed to maintain the ship, or a major lifetime gift. Volunteers are critical in ensuring we have sufficient support to open and maintain the ship every day. We are truly blessed to have a tremendous amount of support from you, your networks, and the community. Our board(s), crew, and I can’t thank you enough. If you are interested in volunteering, click here.
As you know, we have several fundraising campaigns currently underway. We launched our Operation Crush COVID campaign last week with a goal to raise $50,000 to help us avoid being one of the 1/3 of museums estimated to fail in the coming year. This campaign also includes stories from our crew on why the IOWA is important to them and ensuring a strong future is important to our community. You can contribute to this campaign by visiting our GoFundMe page.
Our direct mail campaigns continue to reach out to new and existing supporters. These campaigns focus primarily on protecting our history and ensuring our transition to the National Museum of the Surface Navy. These campaigns have helped us broaden our reach and engage donors throughout the world.
My primary focus as CEO is continuing to support our leadership team during these challenging times and working with our board(s) to raise the funds necessary for the National Museum of the Surface Navy. This transition is an enormous opportunity to educate the public on our Surface Navy and its role in protecting our seas for a prosperous future. We have two major fronts on the National Museum currently, a capital campaign to raise the $58 million necessary to build the museum and our grassroots museum Plank Owner program. The Plank Owner program is open to everyone and we have gained tremendous support from veterans and civilians alike. If you believe in supporting our veterans and ensuring freedom of the seas, become a Plank Owner today.
We will see additional adjustments in the coming weeks and months as we strive to survive this pandemic. Your support is critical and I can’t show my appreciation enough. As a family and community, we will get through this together to see brighter days.
Thank you and stay safe!
President & CEO