Private Sector Funding in the New Normal: Working All the Angles!

Posted by Valerie Beaman On June - 13 - 2012
Valerie Beaman

Valerie Beaman

Suzan Jenkins, CEO of the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County, moderated a convention panel on creative methods for growing new funding born out of the experiences of the recession. The rise of online funding campaigns, emphasis on creating partnerships with businesses and, more radically, treat all philanthropic support as start-up funding and don’t rely on it for core operating income were some of the ideas explored. The consensus was to, remain flexible but, above all, stay true to your mission.

Maud Lyon, executive director of the Cultural Alliance of Southeastern Michigan, used the Community Foundation Challenge in Detroit as an example of the challenges and best practices for online giving/day of arts giving campaigns. A major goal of the Challenge was to raise awareness for the arts and culture sector.

Referencing it as “Glitches to Riches,”  Maud said the Challenge program raised $4,992,000 million for 75 organizations in one day. While the larger organizations raised higher dollar amounts, smaller organizations raised a higher proportion of their budget size. Existing donors were the mainstay of the Challenge (59 percent), but the Challenge brought in a significant number of new donors as well (28 percent).

Lessons learned by the arts community include: the importance of being prepared with technology and social networking in order to be able to respond quickly to challenge opportunities; the future of online giving is with younger donors; and, convenience, ease, flexibility and lack of pressure are the appeals of online commerce.

Maud emphasized the necessity of a good donor database and an excellent donor stewardship program. She personally donated to twelve different organizations during the Challenge, received very few thank you letters, and only three of the twelve followed up the following year for new donations. Lost opportunities! Read the rest of this entry »

Basic Online Fundraising for Busy People

Posted by Rich Mintz On June - 20 - 2011

Rich Mintz

At the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, I had the pleasure of listening to Camille Schenkkan of Arts for LA giving an unusually lucid and helpful introductory summary to online tools for donor development and management.

I think those of us who work in online fundraising for a living — especially those of us who mostly work with large organizations, the kind that have a dozen or more people in the marketing department, and technical staff to handle the donor database, and so forth — sometimes forget how mystifying all of this stuff is to a lot of people.

If you’re doing three jobs at once, in an environment where there’s never any extra money lying around, with a board of directors (or a major donor, city council, etc.) breathing down your neck — sound familiar? — what you want is not a bunch of platitudes about the “next generation” and the “new normal.” You want someone to tell you the dozen or so things you need to know, and the half-dozen or so things you should try to do this month or this quarter. Read the rest of this entry »