Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Arts Community Campaign

videoA six-week web-based pilot fund-raising campaign based on the concept that many small donations add up to big dollars launches May 1 to raise money for the Valley’s 16 largest arts and cultural organizations.
If the effort is successful, the concept, proposed by Valley businessmen Bob Delgado of Hensley & Company and Mike Cohn of CFG Business Solutions, LLC, will be used in the fall for a statewide campaign for than 300 arts and cultural organizations across Arizona.
“This truly is an experiment,” Delgado said. “The idea is to help arts and cultural organizations weather the current economic downturn through contributions as small as $10 by using technology and viral networking to reach a new generation of funders. As an experiment, there are no guarantees or commitments and we have no predetermined financial goal. We’ll judge the effort based on how much money is raised at the end of six weeks.”
Delgado and Cohn hope to engage at least 10 percent of the state’s 1.2 million arts supporters to make tax-deductible contributions starting at $10 through the web site, www.myartscommunity.org.
“There is a real sense of urgency among arts and cultural organizations because the economy has taken its toll,” Cohn said. “Donations are down significantly and fund-raising events are not producing the kind of results we’ve seen in recent years. With ticket sales generally representing only between 40 and 50 percent of annual revenue, we hope this effort will help bridge the gap until the economy turns.”
Visitors to the web site, designed by PS Studios, a Valley-based graphic design and advertising firm, will use a drop-down function to select the organization they wish to donate to. Or donations can be placed in an undesignated fund for later distribution. Donors also will have the option of writing checks.
All donations will be placed in a special account at the Arizona Community Foundation, the campaign’s fiduciary agent.
Arts and cultural organizations selected for the campaign were chosen based on very strict criteria including, but not limited to, an operational budget of at least $1.5 million. The organizations will market the campaign through email outreach, program ads, curtain speeches and other communication channels with subscribers, ticket buyers and donors. Each participating organization has also agreed to secure matching donations of up to $5000.
The campaign also will be supported by advertising, grassroots street outreach, social networking and a strong presence at events across the Valley including First Friday and the Scottsdale ArtWalk. The cost of the campaign is being underwritten by a pool of funds solicited by Delgado and Cohn.
Arts and cultural organizations include: Actors Theatre, Arizona Opera Company
Arizona Science Center.Arizona Theatre Company, Ballet Arizona, ChildsPlay, Desert Botanical Garden, Free Arts of Arizona, Heard Museum, Mesa Arts Center, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Symphony Association, Phoenix Theater, The Phoenix Zoo, Scottsdale Cultural Council, West Valley Arts Council and an undesignated fund.
For more information or to donate, visit www.myartscommunity.org