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

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