Publication Date


Document Type

Student Project

First Advisor

Schatteman, Alicia

Degree Name

B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)


Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies


This study focuses on the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois, and analyzes how the geographical location of the museum and the rate of attendance impacts the museum’s financial health and sustainability. This study utilizes three sources of data: annual reports to donors, yearly financial audits, and a primary data source via a survey response from an employee of the finance department at the Field Museum. The data collected was analyzed qualitatively using three categories that aligned with the research question: location, attendance, and finances. These three categories, and the use of Excel and its equation functions, allowed for the effective comparison of the data collected. The financial sustainability of nonprofit organizations is intertwined with the size and diversification of each organization’s financials. Although it may seem that these three factors have little impact on one another, they are all interconnected because the large, urban location of the museum grants access to a growing community of attendees who, through outreach and connections, will become members, donors, supporters, and patrons of the museum, ultimately increasing the museum’s financial size, health, and sustainability.