Employ Special Events to Uncover Potential

The following is an excerpt from WealthEngine's "Best Practices in Arts and Culture Fundraising Report." To learn more, fill out the form to the right and download the full report.

Increasing visibility and interest in your organization is always a challenge, but according to the many Arts and Culture organizations we surveyed hosting special events and targeting your audience yield positive results. Forty-two percent of survey respondents said Special Events are considered an important and integral part of their overall fundraising income. Events bring not only significant fundraising dollars, but also help to bring new audiences and develop new prospects. Special Events can be leveraged in many ways. In fact, 44% of organizations indicated they use Special Events to generate leads and increase their prospect pool.

Various Types of Special Events:

  • Galas
  • Exclusive Performances
  • Board Dinners
  • Cocktail Receptions
  • Member Only Receptions
  • Lecture Series
  • Walk-a-thons

Think Out of the Box

Social Media is taking off in the Arts world, as many venues are using it to increase their visibility around events and for attracting new supporters of the Arts. Signature Theatre discussed how they have recently seen a large increase in their following on Facebook and Twitter. They leverage their Social Media tools to inform fans of special ticket offer- ings, community events and new happenings at the Theatre. Although, Signature has not begun using Social Media as a means of Development, they are using it currently to increase their visibility in the market sector. Online Social Media is also a great way to reach a younger audience. Arts and Culture organizations often struggle to draw new young members. Our Focus Group participants, emphasized the need for Arts organizations to reach out to a younger audience and begin building their membership for the future of their organization.

Encourage Community

Community refers to a group linked by at least one commonality. For Arts and Culture organizations this can be the regional community and/or the community of audience members and visitors. Focus group participants relayed the need to capitalize on the sense of community to help create a sense of ownership. This sense of ownership leads to customer loyalty and ultimately donations, if cultivated appropriately.

One organization with a national scope shared how a board member’s concept of a “National Potluck” went from a creative idea, to an annual event. Using the web and its ability to connect all regions despite physical distance, the organization’s community came together and raised money. By using social media, and leveraging members, they generated new interest from communities throughout the nation. Another focus group participant, Signature Theatre spoke of their annual Open House as a way to give back to those who give to the theater, both as ticket purchasers and philanthropists.

Download the complete report to find these great tools as well as in depth analysis of fundraising best practices for arts and culture organizations.


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