4 Ways to Drive Arts Fundraising During Covid-19 Recovery

Arts program costs didn’t go on quarantine.

Fundraisers and events are going to look very different during the upcoming months.

Here’s how you can kickstart your school’s fundraising in the wake of Covid-19.

Our society has been dramatically impacted during the first half of 2020.

Everything from the way our kids attend school (who’s tired of Zoom meetings?) to the way that our arts programs impact students has shifted to a different form.

Some good news though…

Two recent surveys by Gallup and Durham & Company prove that now is the right time for fundraising.

  • Americans are still giving, even now.
    81% of people will continue giving to their favorite charities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Donations are going UP, not down.
    25% of Americans plan on INCREASING their donations in the next year.

Giving – specifically ONLINE giving – is at an all-time high. And it’s not just to essential service charities, either.

4 ways to help arts fundraising during Covid-19 recovery

Here are 4 strategies to use for your Arts Program is you’re in need of increased funding during Covid-19 recovery:


1. Focus on what you know.

Right now, in most areas of the country, fall marching activities and sports are an unknown.

At the time of this publication, we’re not certain what marching band is going to look like in October of 2020.

We all WANT there to be a normal season, but as of right now none of us are completely certain what’s going to happen.

Building a fundraising campaign requires a clear, concise and direct appeal.

Dithering in the uncertainty won’t help you.

But regardless of what the fall looks like, you still need things like equipment, uniforms, trucks and trailers, and other program fixtures.

Even if programs operate under some sort of restrictions later in 2020, you’re still going to need these important program improvements.

Focusing on the uncertainty clouds your messaging and dilutes your potential results.

Talk about the positive improvements you are hoping to make, and how donor support is so important to making those improvements happen.


2. Create a virtual event

We’ve discussed how virtual fundraising events are so important to fundraising success.

Prospective donors are often driven to action by a unique and pressing request, and the creation of a time-sensitive occasion is an effective tactic.

Think about things like “Giving Tuesday”, any type of THON event, or defined periods of time for fundraising. These strategies create urgency and pressure to act quickly and donors respond in predictable ways.

Some ideas to get you started…

  1. Online auction — bonus points for using Facebook Live
  2. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign (duh)
  3. Virtual discussions or TED Talk-style event
  4. Virtual talent show or Open Mic night
  5. Virtual cooking lessons
  6. Online gaming tournament
  7. Virtual paint or craft night

In most cases, it’s a free and open virtual event during which you’d be asking for donations.


3. Become a storyteller

The two strategies above (and the next one below) involve a certain degree of storytelling. 

We should quantify that the best stories are shorter ones. ‘War and Peace’ isn’t needed here.

Here are some tips on becoming a better storyteller, but at the top of any list needs to be BREVITY. Keep it short, direct, honest, and personal.

Focus on your audience, not yourself. Make them the hero of their own story, and explain how they can be your group’s hero, too.


4. Give your donors an outcome

The simple act of equating your donor dollars to program impact is an important aspect to campaign success. 

“Your donation of $100 purchases one uniform/costume.”

— or —

“Your donation of $250 provides a meal on-the-go during a performance weekend.”

You can further this by attaching your donor to those outcomes. If you follow any of the DCI drum corps in a normal non-2020 season, you’ll find hundreds of posts recognizing donors that sponsor meals and snacks.

Even if you don’t have the social media following of these groups, you’d be surprised how much a promised social announcement can influence a $25 donation to become a $100 donation!

FansRaise is FREE all summer.

The strategies of fundraising during Covid-19 recovery aren’t that different than we would recommend in the best of times. People are still donating money towards the causes that they care about. 

Funding the arts is what we do. For years, we’ve been helping ensembles buy gear and enhance their programs.

This is our “why.” — We want to help.

To help school arts programs kickstart their fundraising, we’re waiving our 15% platform fees.

Ready to get started? 


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