Crowdfunding for an established organisation

Crowdfunding for an established organisation

By Marcella van Coevorden


Learn how the Louvre managed to crowd fund over 1 million euros to purchase the national art treasure Les Trois Graces (1531), by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

Historical art museum Louvre captures eight centuries of art and displays a collection containing masterpieces and organises exhibitions that are renowned worldwide.

For the first time in its history, The Louvre sought help from its audience to purchase an
artwork of great national value; Les Trois Graces (1531), by Lucas Cranach the Elder has never been on public display and came on sale, by its then owner, for the sum of €4 million.

Because of its remarkable condition and technical perfection the painting was assigned the status of National Treasure in 2009, prohibiting the painting from being exported from France. As the sale involved a national treasure, the Louvre had the first right to purchase the artwork. The Louvre collected €3 million from its ownfunds and corporate donors but this still was not sufficient.

To address this major gap in funding, the Louvre launched the crowd funding campaign ‘Tous Mécènes!’ to collect the final €1 million. As the French are not as familiar with cultural philanthropy, as say in the US or the UK, the Louvre was positively surprised with the great success of the campaign.


  • To raise €1 million for the purchase of Les Trois Graces over a period of 3 months
  • To stimulate people to help the museum and to get involved in the purchase of a masterpiec
  • To stay connected to donors and potentially persuade them to become regular donors for the long term

Target Groups

The Louvre oriented itself towards online audiences, both French and non-French citizens.


The Campaign was started on 15 November 2010 and was due to last until the 31st of January 2011. However, the campaign ended early, by mid December, when over a million euros had already been donated. As this was the first time crowdfunding, of this scale, had been trialled in France, it quickly attracted a great deal of attention in the media and
created a lot of buzz around, and awareness for, the subject.

When you receive a donation of any amount, it is crucial to properly thank people and to
ensure you create a connection. The Louvre recognised this and as such they hosted several
preview events for larger donors, as well exhibiting a list with the names of all donors during the inauguration of the painting.

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Resource type: Case studies | Published: 2015