The overarching goal of the ARTWorks for Kids program was to increase support for the significant work of the coalition members and other youth arts organizations in eastern Massachusetts.
The solution was Blooming Art: a collaborative fundraising event at which coalition members came together to build their donor base and interact with community leaders by showcasing talented youth from their programs.
“Collaborative fundraising was met at first with skepticism, but we came to embrace the opportunity to showcase the great work of our young artists and connect with new donors.”
Co-Founder and Executive Director, ZUMIX
What We Learned
From the tremendous success of Blooming Art, we learned:
- Success is contagious!
- Fundraising is not a zero-sum game—the more one organization raises can mean the more others raise, not less.
- Bringing a variety of donors together for a youth arts showcase means more support for more organizations.
- Social networks are critical.
- Donors give to organizations and initiatives supported by their friends and colleagues.
- Working together helps staff and board leaders across organizations increase their capacity as fundraisers.
Adopt/Adapt In Your Community
The idea of fundraising collaboratively—sharing donors—can immediately bring out our most territorial natures. When funds are scarce, introducing a funder to a “competitor” seems ludicrous. But securing significant support for youth arts means thinking differently.
Collaborative fundraising breaks old patterns and changes minds about donors, scarcity, and competition. It can build leadership, move organizations forward, and energize the entire sector—but only if we work together.
“It’s extremely difficult for small organizations to go beyond their everyday programming to engage new supporters. Every new person who sees a program in action becomes a new friend who is able to carry the organization’s message to his or her friends.”