Checking In On The ASO Bring Light Fundraising Project

Earlier in the month we took a moment to acknowledge the Alabama Symphony Orchestra (ASO), whose application was selected for the free fundraising project at As promised, today’s installment will report on the ASO’s impression of working with Bring Light as a fundraising service and examine how they’ve been using Bring Light for their project…

In order to find out more, I contacted Megan Cottle, ASO Institutional Giving Manager, who was responsible for implementing the fundraising project. I noticed that the ASO launched their project page within a few days after returning from the New Year’s holiday break and when asked about what it was like to work with Bring Light’s system, Cottle said “it was very easy to set up and use compared to other fundraising sites I’ve worked with.”

I did notice that the ASO set the fundraising goal at their Bring Light page to a level higher than what was originally planned and according to Cottle, the goal was increased because of the increased interest in MAGIC from schools and the organization’s desire to expand the program to more schools in the following year. Since the goal of the program is to purchase instruments for the ASO’s Musicians Activating Growth In Classrooms (MAGIC) program, they decided to set a fundraising deadline of early summer.

Of course, any fundraising project is only as good as the execution plan and when asked how the ASO plans to promote fundraising efforts, Cottle indicated that in addition to measures currently in place, they plan on developing ideas through the deadline.

“We included a link on our education webpage, we’re putting together a press release, and we’re going to include notices in scheduled email blasts for Young People’s concerts and our youth orchestra,” said Cottle. “We’re also figuring out the best way to use our Twitter and Facebook accounts. We would like to take a look into using some of the marketing support Bring Light offers but we need to get the staff time to do that.”

At the very least, it seems as though a traditional PR has managed to produce some immediate results as The Birmingham News published a feature article by Michael Huebner about the entire project on 1/17/2010.

You can visit the ASO’s Bring Light donation page here and we’ll check in on the project from time to time to see how it is coming along.

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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3 thoughts on “Checking In On The ASO Bring Light Fundraising Project”

  1. Was considering using Bring Light to fundraise for Christmas needs at our domestic abuse and sexual assault shelter, but checked your page there and it seems that the site really did not help you make your goals – or close to it. Disappointing. I hope you were able to make up for it elsewhere.

    • I don’t know if it is fair to say Bring Light had any impact on the project one way or another. We didn’t hear from the ASO as to what sorts of efforts they implemented by the project’s end but I’m sure that would be helpful to know.

      In the meantime, I’d suggest contacting Bring Light directly as it sounds like you might be looking for assistance with actually promoting the project and/or finding targeted fundraising lists. But if you’re looking for a way to process online donations then Bring Light along with any of the other standard providers (such as Network For Good and even PayPal) would be worth looking into.

      Either way, let us know what you find out.

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