Following Up On The Free Project

Congratulations to the Alabama Symphony Orchestra (ASO), whose application was selected for the free fundraising project at With a goal of providing 10 sets of rhythm instruments for their Musicians Activating Growth In Classrooms (MAGIC) program, a course designed to provide music education for students that have no full-time music teacher, the ASO officially launched their fundraising program on Monday, 1/4/2010…

To say sailing through's donation process was a breeze would be an understatement!

You can visit the ASO’s fundraising page here and I have to say that my first experience with Bring Light as a donor was through this program and the entire giving process took less than one minute, including the following email confirmation informing me about the conditions of my donation and reminding me that full amount of my gift is deductible.
Dear Drew McManus:

This email confirms the contribution you have made via the Bring Light website at

Congratulations. We have accepted your contribution to the Bring Light Donor Advised Fund at American Endowment Foundation. Please accept this letter as official acknowledgment that we accepted your contribution. The details of your contribution are:

January 04, 2010 $XX.XX XXXXXXXX_XXXXXXX

For tax purposes, American Endowment Foundation is a public charity under Internal Revenue Code sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1). AEF’s Employer Identification Number is 34-1747398. In accordance with the terms of service and as required by law, AEF has exclusive legal control over any donation processed through our website.

Don't just take my word for it, check out how speedy the donation process is first hand.

In accordance with contribution substantiation requirements, we inform you that no goods or services were made available to you in connection with this contribution. The full amount of this gift, therefore, is deductible as a charitable contribution to the extent permitted by law. Your contribution is irrevocable and can not be canceled. This letter serves as an official tax receipt for this contribution.

Thank you for your generosity.


Philip T. Tobin
American Endowment Foundation

We’ll learn more about the ASO’s impression of the Bring Light service as well as how they plan to use it in a follow up article toward the end of the month. In the meantime, stop by the ASO’s fundraising page and make a donation; if nothing else, making a donation simply to experience the system is entirely worthwhile!

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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