I have just been to an event organised by ALVA, which represents a weird and wonderful mixture of organisations from the British Museum to Canterbury Cathedral and anything in between which attracts more than a million visitors a year, including the Royal Academy.   Bernard Donoghue, its Chief Executive, gave an admirable short speech summing up his experience of the issues of the day in which he said what a great pleasure it was to be holding a conference in an institution (the RA) which treated its friends not just for transactional purposes, but to widen and deepen their enjoyment and participation in the arts.   I found this deeply interesting because we have just undertaken a survey which suggests that 83% of our Friends join the scheme for specific benefits and only 17% as a gesture of philanthropic support for the organisation.  So the question is:  is membership for pure benefits, an essentially commercial transaction?  Or is it underpinned by a deeper value system ?  As the argot goes, is it about value or values ?  I would be grateful for any advice on this question.


2 thoughts on “ALVA

  1. Amanda Kinsman says:

    I do not think it is either or. People like to be part of something and to skip the queues. I don’t suppose many RA Friends actually work out if they are saving money if they attend every exhibition and claim all the discounts. They like being able to pop in when they feel like it and get the magazine in the post.

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