Category Archives: fund raising

10 point plan on how to build relationships to build your support

It’s been a while, and I apologize for this, since I have given out some advice.  Audience development is all about building relationships in order to get more people to support you and your art form.  So how can we do this in a day and age that is less connected in live time?

Here is a little road map to get you started…

1. Take notice of the connections you have online.  Are you having conversations with them?  Start getting to know people by talking (tweeting) with them.  Get to a point where you start feeling a relationship blooming. If you feel you can work together or want to get to know them better, take steps to personalize your online connection.  For example, the people on Twitter I want to get to know better, I will invite them to my more personal accounts.

2. At meetings, be sure to trade business cards after having a good conversation.  Let them know you would be interested in having coffee/lunch sometime.

3. Follow up on your online/live conversations and follow through by emailing, direct contacting them, or pick up the phone to ask for a time to meet.  This means you are taking these new contacts to the next level.  If for some reason some contacts do not respond back, don’t worry.  It may just mean it is not the right time yet for that contact.

4. The ones that do respond, meet them for coffee/tea/lunch or a Skype/Hangout call if you are not in the same area.   Get to know each other further, and eventually talk about how you can support one another.

5. Follow up to thank them for the meeting and let them know you have been thinking about your conversation.  Are there collaborations or partnerships that can be discussed further?  This is the time to attempt a more concrete meeting.  Keep getting to know them personally and continue with step one until it naturally cycles around again.

6. Make plans to work together, do something together, etc.  This is where the relationship is at another new level.

7.  Keep the cycle going to deepen the relationship.   Be sure to have thank you stops along the way to show your appreciation.  Also, continue to help each other with advice and by being helpful when and where you can.

8. Think about the support you need.

9.  Start asking once you feel you are at a good point in your relationships.  You will know when it is the right time.

10. See the support add up! Continue to thank and be thankful.

You can have your board members and ambassador volunteers work on building relationships in this fashion with potential audience members, donors and sponsors, and watch what happens!  In fact, anyone that is a part of your arts business can help in this fashion.

Building relationships makes it easier to get the support you need since you will now be asking a friend, or at least a very friendly colleague.  The stronger the relationship, the easier the ask, and the more likely you will get the support you need.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Digital Fundraising – how can I get into the action?

I came across a motherload of digital fundraising infographics via William Deckers’ Digital Fundraising Pinterest board.

What I am seeing that we can no longer ignore is the majority of people surveyed participate in online activities.  Here’s an infographic that demonstrates:

At this point in time, the majority of fundraising is still done via offline methods, but I feel we are about to see a change since our audiences are shifting to the new way of donating online.

And, of course we all know that the younger generations are increasingly using digital formats in their lives.

We are also seeing an increase in donations per digital formats since last year.  Meaning, people are becoming more acclimated to donating online.

So, how can we get into the action?

Just like any other fundraising campaign, I do suggest that you sit down and plan out your strategy and get as many people involved in spreading the word as possible.  Through my basic research, here is a list of  digital fundraising formats to consider:

  • Your website – As long as it is highly visible, well marketed, and easy to use, donating via your website is still the easiest form of online fundraising.  If you happen to be using a CMS for your website, such as WordPress, there are plug-ins available for sprucing up the functionality of your online donations. PayPal has a widget that you can use to make it really simple, or if you are set up on Google Checkout, or Amazon’s platform, there are widget options for you as well.
  • Third Party Fundraising Services such as Causes, Razoo, Network for Good, are an easy way to get into the online donation game.  Be sure to compare their fees and marketing abilities.
  • Text to Give options! More people are donating via text donation campaigns due to the increase in mobile phone usage.
    In 2008, the American Red Cross raised over $190,000 via text donations, and this is when the technology was fairly new! If you are interested in setting up your own mobile donation campaign, check out:

  • Tweet donations – One of the new formats is the ability to receive a donation via a tweet on Twitter.  If you have a good following, this is a great way to see which of your followers will evolve to become donors.  These programs allow people to sign-up and store payment information to be coordinated with their Twitter accounts. Some of the new ones connect you to your PayPal account.  Of course the organizations need to register too. When the donor tweets the specific code that is set up by the organization, a donation of a certain amount will be withdrawn and paid out to the organization.Currently there are not many service providers for this type of donation program.  You can look into Givver if you are interested.
  • Facebook donations – Many of the donation services have Facebook apps that will coordinate with your Facebook Page.  If you are interested in receiving donations via your Facebook Page, be sure to select a service that has an established app you can install.  If you are not already using a service that has an available app feature, you can sign up directly with Causes.com.
  • Crowdfunding – Many of you already know about Kickstarter, but there are many other options out there to start a crowdfunding campaign.  Please see my past post Choosing the right Crowdfunding is good Audience Development for suggestions on how to choose the right option for you.

In any case, you will want to choose the format that your audiences want to use.  Go where your audiences are, and if you do not know where to go, ask them in your next survey!

Digital fundraising does not have to be daunting if you treat the process with the same care as you would for any other offline form of fundraising.  The key is to build relationships online before, during and after using these new formats, just as you would with your regular fundraising campaigns.  Once you dip your toe into the world of digital fundraising, I think you will find it fun and rewarding.

If you know of any new digital fundraising formats, please reply and share with us!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Filed under Arts funding, Audience Development, fund raising, Online fund raising, Online fundraising

#Auddev chat 2/14, Noon ET – Loving Your Donors

#Auddev chat 2/14, Noon ET – Loving Your Donors

On Thursday we had an hour long chat with fundraising coach, Marc A. Pitman, on how we can show our appreciation for our donors and supporters.  Please do click on the link above for new ideas and thought provoking conversation!

Have a super weekend!

-Shoshana

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Filed under Arts funding, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising

Random thoughts from fiscal cliffs and landfills to donation asks for arts audience development

What do fiscal cliffs and landfills have to do with audience development for the arts?  Quite a lot actually.  Allow me to explain.

The priorities in America and possibly the world are all mixed up these days.  When countries are being run by greed for power and money, what is really important in life is not being funded.  The arts, in my opinion, are important to our lives.  We would be living life in the dark without the arts.  There would be no color in our world, no design,creative sciences or inventiveness, no music, no plays, movies and television shows, no historical reference, no spark to our lives.  How am I certain that the arts are one of the vital ingredients for humanity?  Because of the Landfill Harmonic:

Landfill Harmonic film teaser from Landfill Harmonic on Vimeo.

A country that has no means, but has the human spirit to create is making instruments out of remnants from the landfill.  The arts are a basic need, a basic desire that has to be filled.  This video showcases that the arts are a priority in our lives.

If the arts were to be a part of the fall off due to the fiscal cliff, we would still find a way to create and perform.  However, think about what we could do if we finally got our priorities in life straight.  What would the world look like if the greed for power and money were gone?  There wouldn’t be a fiscal cliff and there probably would be the means for funding of the arts more fully.  We as a human race tend to take the arts for granted.  It’s only when the arts are gone from our lives that we find that we need to sift through the rubble, the garbage, to find a way to express ourselves again.

This taking the arts for granted can be flipped on its head too.  We as artists tend to take our audiences for granted.  I hope non-profits of all kinds will take a moment to ponder this point too.

We are taking our audiences for granted.  We assume that if we create, the audiences will be there.  You can call this the Field of Dreams Syndrome.  We take it for granted that the right people will show up and start to support us, and then we fall flat with doing the work to build the relationships to create the support that we need.

For example, I receive donation asks from a variety of organizations.  I might have given in the past, I might not have.  The organizations that are targeting me based on who I have given to in the past have not started a relationship with me.  They are asking without knowing who I really am as a person.  I rarely give to these random asks.  The ones I have given to the past are organizations that caught my attention through a variety of avenues, such as tabling at an outreach event.  I have at least spoken to a representative, gone to a show, or volunteered for their cause.  I gave to these organizations since a relation has been established.

I only choose to continue to give if the relationship continues.  Many organizations at this point will take me for granted and continue to ask without any personal contact with me.  The only organizations I continue to give to at this point are the ones that treat me like an individual person and not just a number on their mailing list.  They make sure to thank me and contact me to keep me in the loop before asking for another donation.  They send me updates on how my money is being used.  They may call me to thank me personally.  I did receive a call from a board member on one of these organizations.  I only gave $25 that year too. Wow!

To tie this random post up into a nice gift with a big red bow for the holidays, you can trace back to the initial thought.  We have our priorities mixed up.  Instead of taking the road of hard work and thoughtfulness for others, we are taking the path of laziness and greed for money and power.  People will not see the value of our art and organizations until we start valuing people as individuals.  The world will not see the arts as a priority until they see the arts become more a part of the world in ways that are helpful and supportive to their communities.  Perhaps if we started acting as individuals and support the people in our lives through solid two-way relationships, we can start adding a positive voice to the collective for a better, common sensed, prioritized world.

If you ever wondered why getting the arts funded has been so darn challenging, now you know.

PS  These thoughts are my own humble opinion.  Feel free to challenge, add, and consider your own thoughts and post as a reply!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Filed under Arts, arts advocacy, arts management, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising

Top 5 FUNdraising campaign tips for audience development for the arts

As reiterated at NAMPC, putting fun back into your audience development and marketing is important.  It is also a great way to run a fundraising campaign.  Is it simply a coincidence that “fun” is a big part of the word “fundraising?”  I often have wondered about this.

Since it is the time for the majority of our end of the year asks, I thought I would give you a few of my fundraising pointers:

1. Establish a campaign that is branded for fun and purpose – If your campaign is dulls-ville and does not express your purpose for the funds in easy to understand terms, people will also lack the energy to give.  Don’t forget to add a thank you program that is also fun for your funders.

2. Set an obtainable goal – Funders want to know that their money is going towards a winning campaign. Setting a reasonable goal is part of the strategy.

3. Get one or more of your main supporters to do a match program – Matched fundraisers are often successful since every dollar counts more.

4. Add visuals and video to capture the true value of your art and ask – Make your ask visually appealing to add energy and fun to the campaign.  Allow people to discover the joy of your art and why investing in it will be worth their time and money.

5. Sign-up for a service that allows you to create an online base for the ask and ask others to join in! – Audience development is about getting your audience more involved.  Believe it or not, some people have fun asking for money, especially when it comes to supporting a cause near and dear to their hearts.  Find a service that has a central online location for your campaign and allows others to share and create fundraising pages for your cause as well!  The more people you have out there asking, the better off your chances are for reaching your goals.  In Colorado, we have Givingfirst.org.

Do you have a FUNdraising tip for our readers? Has a particular idea worked really well for you to raise money for your art/organization?  Please reply in our comment box to keep the conversation going!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

2 Comments

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising

Is audience development for the arts the answer?

I have noticed that when I post tweets about arts organizations that are going bankrupt, I always tag it #auddev needed.  I know some people are questioning this and feel it better to attribute the downfall of these organizations to simply bad management.  Why would I continue to shout out about audience development?

To me, audience development is not just a method or technique of arts management, but an entire philosophy about how to run a business today.  In an age where crowdsourcing and social media are popular, the days of us dictating art are no longer valid.  Our business models of producing, marketing and fundraising without thoughts of our audiences are unraveling.  It is not wise to fall back on old business practices, and instead, it is better to be creative, engaging and involving with the people around us.

Some of us believe that the invention of the light bulb changed the arts from inclusive to entitled.  Elitism crept in to the point that the (benchmark) arts are not perceived as for everyone.  All of a sudden, the masses are not supporting the arts, and we have tiny niche markets that have developed due to this, well, development.

Audience development, true audience development, can change the way an arts business functions due to one very big reason.  Audience development is inclusive and focuses on partnering with audiences.  It is a team philosophy that not only includes everyone on your staff, all your volunteers, donors and sponsors, but it also includes your audiences.  This means that everyone will be on the same page working to support your business.

For producing and marketing, this is far different than simply placing an ad that professes (from your spinning marketing team) that your show is “something for everyone!” “spectacular!” “other marketing byte here!”  Instead, when partnering with your audiences, you can incorporate their perspective beforehand instead of attempting to sell something that they might not enjoy in ways that will be ignored.  A flop from the start is rather expensive to work with.  Wouldn’t it be better to produce something that has more promise?

In regard to fundraising, your audiences will help you to raise the money since they are a part of your team.  Your board members and staff will now have added energy to keep them going too. Everyone that is a part of your team will be helping to raise money for your business.  This team mentality for fundraising makes more sense than the “we are great, give us money,” shouted by a few people, views of old.  Plus, with all the people power combined, you can brainstorm new ways of asking for money.  Let’s face it, annual campaign letters have become trite and disposable.  You need to turn some heads and inspire some hearts!

I do hear one concern which I will quickly address. I am not saying that the audiences are now in charge.  You still have artistic license and the ability to create your own strategic plans.  The difference is, you will no longer be creating in the dark after knowing your audiences.  With this philosophy, you will be able to take more risks and produce new work that will have more of a chance of being successful. Your programming, marketing and fundraising can become fresh again.

If you are squeamish about this new way of producing art, and you rather be the sole creator without any feedback, perhaps use audience development to build the right audiences that will enjoy your art – find the best audiences for you!  Please do use audience development for your marketing and fundraising though in any case since you still need a team for support.

So, is audience development the answer? It does sound like audience development can promise the moon and the stars, and in a sense, it can.  With hard work and determination to build relationships and build your team of community support, I see a brighter future for the arts despite the light bulb.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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Filed under Arts funding, arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising

Random audience development for the arts thoughts (and questions)

Today I do not have a guest blogger planned.  I thought I would fill in the gap with a variety of thoughts (and questions) that I have been thinking over the past week (in no particular order).  Let this serve as a summary of blog posts from past and future.

  • Audience development is hard work.  Are we ready to work?
  • Again, audience development is not “butts in seats” !!!  A butt doesn’t enjoy the show, people enjoy the show.
  • A team is needed for audience development.  Can we be team friendly people?
  • Should we appeal to audiences when programming is concerned?  Would we be letting them run our show?  More on this thought later.  This article spurred this thought.
  • We need to go beyond the discounts when it comes to building an audience or we serve to lose our bottom line.
  • Quality needs to be at the forefront for everything we do.
  • Why are board members so scared to ask for money?  They are passionate about their arts organization.  Aren’t they?
  • If I received a penny for “Something for everyone” and other inane marketing blurbs, I’d be rich! Maybe I should start an audience development fund this way?
  • Artists and arts organizations are supposed to be creative, right?
  • Social Media needs to be social.  It’s not termed Marketing Media.
  • If you don’t know your audience, you can’t develop your audience.
  • If you don’t know your audience, you won’t know what types of programs will be appealing and successful.
  • Ask them survey questions beyond the demographic questions.
  • Instead of targeting or segmenting – perhaps reaching out is a better term?
  • Numbers are not people.  You can data mine and analyze away, but this step will not build relationships with living people.
  • If something you are doing is not working, why are you continuing to do it?
  • Why spend money on something that is not working?  Because that’s the way you are supposed to spend your budget?
  • Audience development is a state of mind.  Everyone on your team can be a part of it.  Everywhere you go is an opportunity for it!
  • Learn to be a part of your community.  Use the other C’s to connect, collaborate and care.
  • If you have a big marketing staff, over 2 people, and you are still not getting an audience, either someone is not doing their job, or typical marketing is not working anymore.
  • Run your arts business as a business too.
  • Non-profits can be “profitable.”
  • If a certain business model isn’t working for you, explore a new model.
  • Your audience can be part of your team.
  • Ask your audience, they know what you don’t.
  • Treat your volunteers like royalty.
  • Treat your donors like royalty.
  • Thank your supporters often.
  • Be supportive and respectful of everyone on your team and learn to work together knowing that each part has an important role to play.
  • For gosh sakes, program new stuff too!
  • Be true to yourself and your mission.
  • Brand properly.
  • Be relatable.
  • Engage, but also get your audiences involved! There is a difference.
  • The arts matter, but only if you find out why they matter to your audiences.
  • Your thoughts here!  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising