Tag Archives: Fundraising

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

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“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.***

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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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A sick cat and audience development for the arts

CharliSome of you may know that one of my cats is very ill.  I have been back and forth to the vet many times in the past two weeks.  Both me and my cat are tired of the whole thing.  During the process, I realized that I am incorporating much of the advice I give to my clients for the 4th C of audience development, or the Care element of their plans.

  • I want to make my cat as comfortable as possible during this time.  I put an extra special soft blanket in her carrier to make the travels a little bit better for her.
    What are you doing to make your patrons more comfortable during their experience with you?
  • Her problem right now is not being able to keep food down. I am buying medicines and foods to help calm her stomach.
    What changes are you making to solve any problems your patrons are “ailing” from?
  • At the vet she sat in the corner, tired from the entire ordeal.  Today, I am “hearing” that she needs a little bit of time before another round of medications begin.
    Are you listening to what your audiences prefer?  What are you doing to accommodate their schedule, their needs? 
  • I was rewarded this morning when she began to eat a good breakfast.  After weeks of not being able to keep her food down, she seems to be doing a little better.  She purred when I pet her too.
    Caring for your audiences will have their rewards.  They will want to give back if you cater and care for them. 
  • I know that I will have to make decisions that will benefit her even if she doesn’t take to it from the start.  What makes this easier is her trust in me.
    If you care for your audiences, over time, they will start to trust your judgement even if they don’t completely agree with you. 
  • My cat has been with me for 14 years.  I couldn’t imagine my life without her.
    Just like a relationship with a pet, your relationships with your audiences can be loyal and long lasting if you keep caring for them throughout the relationship. 

Which brings me to the moral of this little cat tale (and tail).  If you care for your audiences through every experience with them, they will become happy and loyal audience members.  They will want to support you since they now know that you care for them too.  In the end, you can’t imagine your life without an audience, and when you care enough, they will not be able to imagine a life without you and your art.

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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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

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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

Entitlement and arts audience development

Last Friday I blogged about some of the reasons why arts organizations succeed and some reasons why they are failing.  I hinted at the big elephant in the room, but for this Monday Moment, I will come out and declare it!

One of the biggest reasons arts organizations are failing is due to the feelings of entitlement.  We have gone through centuries of feeling that the arts are supposed to be supported, and in many cases have rested on this laurel.  We have forgotten how to do the good old fashioned work that results in successful arts businesses.

I am not meaning that we have become artistically lazy, although in some cases, we could cut back on offerings to ensure that each program is a true winner in terms of quality.  In regard to how we are running our businesses, we have become a little lazy.  Boards are not raising as much money.  Staff are falling back on measures that do not offer top quality customer service.  Individual artists have turned to complaining that they have to do the work.  Our marketing is lazy since we create the same tired marketing in the same tired ways that no longer get results.  The creativity for fundraising has almost gone out the window.  We mostly continue with the same old events, annual asks, etc.

We are artists.  Most of the arts administrators are artists as well.  Instead of feeling entitled, maybe it is time to finally use our artistic savvy and roll up our sleeves to become creative again.  It is time to connect again with our patrons on all levels.  It is time for the artists and arts administrators to act as a team again where we all work at audience development.  It is time for all of us to learn new ways of selling an event instead of relying on our tired ads, same old marketing copy and misplaced energy and money on other energy-less efforts.

Many organizations do have the amount of staff needed to turn everything around.  They also have the amount of money to reallocate to new efforts.  The fact that older, established, and well staffed organizations are going bankrupt means that they are, or had been, suffering from entitlement issues.

If you really want a well functioning arts business, you have to do the work.  For the smaller organizations and individual artists, this also means building a team of volunteers to help you do the work.  No one has to do all the work alone.  Everyone can build a team to work with.

We are entering the age where authenticity is going to be attractive, especially since there are more people on this planet that are clamoring for attention.  In many locations, we are saturated with arts offerings.  The competition is fierce for audience, for grants, for donations, for sponsorships…

So, if you want to be successful in this atmosphere, entitlement is not the way to go.  Good old fashioned hard work and audience development is!

PS  This is a general observation, and I am happy to report that there are some artists and organizations that are working hard, being creative, and seeing some fantastic results!

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

1 Comment

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