4 Features of a Successful Arts Fundraising Campaign: and How to Copy Them

We frequently compare and contract campaigns to get a broader view of what “works” and which approaches tend to fall a little flat. After running campaigns  and working with more than 100 ensembles – we can begin to see trends and make suggestions that are results-driven.


No two campaigns are created equally, and factors such as timing and luck are outside of everybody’s control. At FansRaise, we want to (and encourage our partner ensembles to) pay attention to those factors that you CAN control, thereby maximizing your campaign effectiveness and efficiency.


(1) The campaign is “championed” by the lead educator, with support from staff, caption heads, and booster parents.

We see this as an underlying common denominator, as ALL of our most effective campaigns are really lead “from the podium”.  The individual tasked with getting the most out of performers, while inspiring and changing mindsets is probably the one with the most influence. In any high school ensemble room this is normally the director. In some band and drum corps environments, caption managers or caption heads provide the majority of the artistic and teaching transfer to the members, so THEY need to be on board too.

Booster parents can also play a critical part, especially in helping to keep students accountable. “Did you do your homework? Clean your room? Enter your 20 contacts into FansRaise?”


(2) The campaign is poised to affect and help close to 100% of your membership.

When everyone stands to “gain” directly as a result of the campaign, you will get more buy-in and effort from each campaign participant. If you need battery percussion equipment (marching snares, quads, bass drums) and are looking to raise $28,000, how much motivational impact will be felt by your 3rd clarinets? Can you reasonably expect them to get excited to participate in a campaign for equipment that not only do they NOT play, but are FORBIDDEN to touch?

If you need instruments and equipment, consider a capital campaign that includes a “carve-out” for woodwinds, brass and percussion (maybe color guard too?)…

Uniforms, trucks, trailers, and other universal needs that are “mission-critical” are much better bets. And if you’re considering an individual campaign to help kids pay for trips and fees – those almost never raise the kind of funds that can result from a capital campaign (although sometimes your biggest need is helping your kids’ trip accounts)…

An Examination of a Super Effective Campaign, with 30 kids raising almost $12K


(3) The campaign has a coordinated roll-out to the members, and a buzz-worthy public launch.

Campaigns that contain a planned roll-out to your member participants would include:

  • Everyone gathers in the rehearsal room, with mobile phones in hand
  • Director or lead organizer explains what the campaign is designed to do, how it works
  • Challenges members with firm expectations, and possibly “incentivizes” the section with the best participation (“Each of you is responsible for entering in 20 contacts, and developing 5-10 donors each. The strongest section with the highest participation gets a PIZZA PARTY…”)
  • The members ALL confirm email addresses, download the FansRaise mobile apps, log-in and enter in their first contact together.

The public launch would simply involve members keeping the campaign quiet until the first supporter request is dropped the day of your launch. Members and families share their child’s campaign page on social media accounts, hundreds (perhaps THOUSANDS) of email invitations are sent via the FansRaise platform on that day.


(4) The campaign gets off to a FAST START on launch day.

If #3 above is followed through with – the EARTH should move a tiny bit when those first donations begin pouring in. When the campaign gets off to a strong start in the first 24-48 hours, it creates its own kind of momentum and energy, which will propel members that aren’t quite on-board into action. “Fear of missing out” (FOMO) is a real thing!

It isn’t unusual to see a campaign hit 30-40% of goal (assuming that the goal is a reasonable one) in the first 2 days.


Even if you anticipate having 1, 2, or 3 of the above – DON”T WAIT to get started with your next big fundraiser! The sooner you get started, the faster you’ll have the funding you need to do the awesome things your performers are looking forward to!




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