Increasing Revenue Through Micro Fundraising

Last July, we took a quick look at how orchestras can benefit from micro fundraising (or from the donor’s perspective, micro philanthropy) but never really followed up on it. In 2008, the artificial economy was in full swing and most orchestras weren’t concerned about maximizing small dollar giving. In 2009, it is a different story and orchestras of all budget size can’t afford the luxury of staying inside development comfort zones…

micro fundraisingAt this point in time, if an orchestra hasn’t figured out the critical need for developing a worthwhile social networking presence, micro fundraising should be the last item to move it in that direction. In short, micro fundraising reinforces the tangible benefits associated with developing worthwhile social networking efforts (do we really need to explain why social networking is important anymore?). Will micro fundraising efforts replace the big donor model? Not any time soon, but it can certainly offset the drop in contributed revenue and provide increased diversity in overall fundraising efforts that lead to increased survivability during period of economic instability.

Give the article from July, 2008 a read with your “New Economy” glasses, visit BringLight.com to learn more about how it can work best with your organization, then assemble a development staff meeting to begin designing your first micro fundraising campaign.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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4 thoughts on “Increasing Revenue Through Micro Fundraising

  1. Something like this was attempted in the Phoenix area.

    Called MyArtsCommunity.org, it was a 6-week pilot project created by two local businessmen. Their goal was to use social networking to raise funds for the arts in Arizona.

    Unfortunately, they underestimated the amount of effort involved in such an undertaking and the project lost money.

    In my own take on it, it seemed like a good effort, but it was poorly timed, too much of its money was spent on advertising, and it was too short of a time window. Myself, I had only heard of MyArtsCommunity.org after its demise had been announced.

    While it was not an astounding success, perhaps there are some valuable lessons to be learned from this.

  2. Thanks for that Bruce, I just had a conversation this morning with a colleague about why too many orchestras get over their head when launching social networking efforts. It does take time; not just to maintain but to build.

  3. You’re very welcome, I still need to do a much more comprehensive piece on what BringLight can do and provide better step by step usage support. It’s one thing to espouse an idea but another to provide enough useful information to make getting started more successful.

    And for those readers who haven’t read the original article from last July, note that the Drew McManus above and yours truly are not only different people but we’re entirely unrelated.

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