ARTWorks for Kids knew that collaborative fundraising would result not only in increased private donations but also the greater prominence of the youth arts sector in eastern Massachusetts. With this additional support, coalition members would then be well positioned to pursue public funding.
The end result: more secure and sustainable revenue streams for youth arts organizations, enabling them to expand their programs and serve more young people.
“Legislators finally realized how important culture and the arts are to the Commonwealth. People now see it as an economic asset, not just a quality of life issue.”
Massachusetts State Senator
What We Learned
The original vision for ARTWorks for Kids was to secure significant and sustainable public funding for youth arts programs in Massachusetts. We’ve had mixed results—some successes, some failures. The most important lesson we take away from our efforts is to keep trying new avenues, and to never give up. This work requires vigilance and persistence—and a constant effort to build a constituency that will carry the work forward.
- Collective advocacy works—the gains made to support youth arts programs in Massachusetts could only have been achieved by organizations and advocates working together towards common goals.
- This work requires patience. It takes time to find the right opportunities, devise the strategy, develop the skills, and forge strong working relationships with fellow advocates and with policymakers—but the end results are worth it!
- Like fundraising, this is not a zero-sum game—success on one issue inspires additional successes.
- The same networks that are so critical for successful fundraising are essential for advocacy, as well.
- Not all donors will become public advocates, but many will—and helping them understand your cause provides you and your team more opportunities to hone your message.
Adopt/Adapt in Your Community
We know collective advocacy works—and you do, too. There are examples in every community of individuals and groups—sometimes unlikely allies—joining forces to effect change. The gains made in Massachusetts to support youth arts could only have been achieved by organizations and activists working toward a common goal.
This work requires patience. It takes time to find the right opportunities, devise the strategy, develop the skills, and forge strong working relationships with fellow advocates and with policymakers—but the end results are worth it!
“Successful advocacy is sustainability of our art, our funding, and our ability to elevate the voices of young people. This culture represents what the arts are about-building bridges, challenging divides, and elevating the success of generations to come.”
Boston Children’s Chorus