FundRaiser Blog

The FundRaiser Software Blog is an excellent resource for nonprofit organizations looking to learn more about fundraising, donor management, membership management, and much more.

Ideas for an Arts Advocacy organization looking to diversify funding sources


Dear Kim,

I work for a small statewide arts advocacy organization, and by small I mean in staff size rather than geographic size. We receive funding from our state agency and membership but realize the need to diversify our funding sources. We are finding it difficult to approach foundations and corporations for funding because we are statewide and we do advocacy. Any advice on how to solve this problem?


Dear Perplexed,

The solution is fairly easy: don’t look to foundations and corporations for funding. In the private sector, foundations account for a little over 10% of money given and corporations about 5%. Individuals account for the remaining 85%. I think many people who love arts and culture, and who recognize the importance of community-based arts and culture groups, will be interested in donating to your organization to do advocacy work.

Although the solution is easy, the work is hard, and I don’t want to trivialize what lies ahead for you. Let me just suggest two things to get you started:

  1. Create an “associate” membership that is for individuals. For that membership, a person will get a newsletter and the knowledge that you are helping the arts on a statewide basis. Give this category of membership a name, but no voting rights. Create a simple brochure with a tear-off form and ask your organizational members to display it in their theaters, museums, galleries, libraries, and so on. Post this information on your website also, and make it possible for people to join from your site.
  2. Seek out opportunities to talk about arts advocacy to service clubs, professional associations, and even faith-based groups. Tell people if they want to help, they can join your organization.

In other words, start building a broad base of individual donors, donors who give you any amount of money. From there, you can start to identify, from your list of supporters and from people in the community, those who believe in what you do and who can afford to give larger gifts. Developing a major gifts program — which requires a long-term commitment to building relationships with your donors — is something that will allow your income to grow year after year.

In addition, I suggest exploring some earned income ventures. Charge fees for workshops, create materials to sell, and, generally, look around for things that you know how to do, that you can offer your members for free or cheap, and that other non-arts organizations or people might be willing to pay for.

Finally, look for opportunities to do any joint fundraising with your members or with other advocacy groups. Linking the issues of arts and culture to civil liberties, environment, education, and so on is important politically because it helps build a stronger base, and it also will help you raise money.

Creativity is the name of the game here, and your work is built on the creative impulse. I have total confidence in you.


Orignially published in the Grassroots FundRaising Journal. FundRaiser users can subscribe at a special rate of $30/year by entering is "$30" in the coupon code field on the second page of the subscription process.

To learn more about how FundRaiser can help you build your base of individual donors 

take a look at Spark, our program for small and new organizations

7 key components for donor cultivation you should ...
Solicitor Codes & Reports: Not Just For Major Dono...

Related Posts

Wait a minute, while we are rendering the calendar
volunteers office technical support donor preferences appeal letters NCOA processing event management Snow Birds alumni PayPal capital campaign upgrading donors user spotlights increasing giving amounts Thank You follow up gift entry motivation customer portal operating systems word processor grassroots campaign donor contact information support announcements product news membership programs lapsed donor banquet community supported gardens moves management Network for Good updates on site training ROI case study communications Resiliency Alternative Addresses Facebook segmenting donors major gift prospects data analysis relationship tracking Crowdfunding Campaign community broadcasting Donor Portal vacation targeted mailings ticket sales recurring gifts FundRaiser Spark raffle development director data conversion online donations campaign management fundraising mission driven publicity materials gift notes field donor overview arts grants tax summary letters nonprofit fundraising phoning donors Facebook campaign donor recognition correspondence Excel Codes security social media donor retention rate donor profile look and feel reports training National Change of Address pledges endowment campaign customer service solicitors #GivingTuesday features foundations board members user interface operational costs membership benefits SYBUNTS Company culture Constant Contact charity golf tournaments upgrade volunteering government grants merge fields add ons accounting software building donor relationships Reminders importing csv advanced tab online donations animal rescue new version annual maintenance plan small donations understanding giving trends training tip spreadsheets Congratulations Task List new features new leadership data entry premiums donor loyalty tech tip happiness annual campaign monthly giving donor targeting fundraising letters giving levels backing up data Personalizing donor source disaster relief End of Year Letters welcome packet pictures corporate sponsors Volunteer module in honor of donations Groupings donor attrition change of address updating spare fields brick campaign ticketsales budget LYBUNTS role of nonprofits custom page membersip benefits Tickles motivation code password protection tribute gifts community arts nonprofits donor slip In-Kind gifts the Ask Reporting to IRS Thanksgiving thank you letters general mode code donation history GivingTuesday GoFundMe project major donors flash sales donor attrition rate how-to videos giving history memorial giving

Connect With Us

  800-880-3454 ext 3
  Email Us
  Request More Information
      8:30AM-5:30PM CST

Customer Portal Login Form

User Name:

If you are not sure about your Customer User Name, please call 800-543-4131 and we will be able to help you.

Or you have lost your password, Request Password