How Art Organizations Can Increase Donations

art organizations increase donations

As an arts and culture organization, you need to know how to increase donations because of the limited and decreased government funding to arts, culture, and humanitarian organizations. Individual giving, too, tends to be in flux throughout the year and from year to year. When the state of the economy leads to fewer donors, nonprofit organizations need to get more creative with their fundraisers and come up with new ways to increase donations. 

Outdated tools can make bringing in and accounting for donations difficult, however, which is why we offer MIP Fund Accounting® software. With our solution, you can automate your fund accounting and better serve your community.

Who Is Funding the Arts?

The arts primarily rely on funding from individuals, corporations, foundations, and government sources. Economic downturn during the tech-bust recession and the Great Recession impacted arts organizations’ foundation funding. Foundations established after this economic downturn also gave fewer grants to arts organizations compared to older foundations.

Art funders, state arts agencies, and local arts agencies fall under the umbrella of public art funders and are supported by tax initiatives. With art funders, individual donors can use their vote to support the arts, while local and state arts agencies are generally supported with government funding. 

Because government funding for nonprofits can vary depending on budgets, these agencies may also look for support from donors. United arts funds focus on providing capital to a certain neighborhood or area by raising money from corporations, foundations, and individuals.

Challenges in Fundraising for the Arts

Building relationships is an essential part of fundraising for the arts. Even if you establish a strong connection between your mission and donors, however, there are some unique challenges that arts organizations face when it comes to fundraising and increasing donations.

1. Make the Case for Donors

Funding the arts may not seem as immediately necessary as other causes, such as fighting homelessness or hunger. As such, you may struggle to justify your request for donations. This is why it’s essential to target the right audience for your fundraising efforts. 

Both you and the potential donor should believe in the importance of the arts and that art plays an essential role in our lives and culture. Art can change lives and the course of history, so it’s worth supporting. 

2. Navigating Controversy

One of the greatest challenges an arts organization may face is controversy. Donations can vary widely depending on the public’s view of your organization’s artwork. If you tackle challenging or controversial topics, your organization could lose donors. When a number of your supporters are upset, raising money can be challenging. 

To navigate controversy successfully and continue getting support for your organization, focus on your relationships with your donors and education. 

3. Establishing Urgency

While everyone needs food and shelter, there isn’t the same urgency when it comes to the arts. If the new exhibit doesn’t open or the show is canceled, the world will keep spinning. However, there are always deadlines in the arts, and you can use these to build urgency when asking for donations.

If a performance at the theater is coming up, for example, you can request donations to support your performance season before it starts. The end of the calendar year can be another good time to establish urgency that encourages donors to give. Many individuals make their charitable donations at the end of the year to write off on next year’s tax return.

Advantages of Fundraising for Arts Organizations

Along with a few challenges, there are also several advantages that arts organizations have when it comes to fundraising. These advantages can help you increase donations, even when government funding for the arts is limited.

1. Donors Can Fund Their Interests 

When a donor gives to your organization, the donation isn’t only altruistic — donors can benefit from their own donations. By supporting your organization, they can ensure their favorite art form continues to have a presence in their community for the long term. Education programs are also great funding opportunities for new donors, as your current supporters are usually happy to share their passion with others.

2. Ability to Build Strong Relationships With Donors

Arts organizations have the ability to build strong, lasting relationships with donors. Take advantage of what you have in common with your donors, particularly your shared interest in the arts. Use what you have in common to make your donors feel like they are insiders and their membership is important to your organization. By building strong relationships with your donors, you can ensure their continued support.

3. Many Fundraising Opportunities

One of the greatest advantages of fundraising for an arts organization is the many fundraising opportunities available, such as shows, exhibits, backstage tours, open rehearsals, and dinners with artists. Leverage social and educational opportunities to raise money for your organization. Speak with donors personally and focus on strengthening relationships while ensuring donors enjoy the activities.

Use MIP to Make Things Simple

At MIP®, we make fundraising online simple. With MIP Fund Accounting®, you can connect with donors, elevate your mission, and raise more funds for your arts organization. Our nonprofit accounting solution is used to streamline processes for arts, culture, and humanities organizations. 

Your donors are looking to be engaged in your organization’s mission and to contribute to campaigns that will best leverage their dollars. If you don’t already accept online donations, now is the time to start. Online debit and credit card transactions make up a large portion of donations, and to make sure your organization is accessible to donors, choose our Fundraising Online solution. Features include:

  • Personalized campaigns
  • Custom, built-in reporting
  • Simple processing for donations
  • Customizable, unlimited registration and donation forms

Along with offering donors another avenue to support your art organization, online giving can help you improve relationships with your donors and better communicate your nonprofit’s mission and needs. Our history of working with arts organizations means that with our fundraising system, you can deploy effective online fundraising.  

Request a Demo of MIP Fund Accounting®

At MIP Fund Accounting®, we offer several services and accounting software that we designed specifically to help government organizations and nonprofits manage complex accounting processes. When you have comprehensive financial tracking, your organization can operate efficiently, engage donors, and make more informed decisions.

Our MIP Fund Accounting® software is cloud-based and has been used for decades as a SaaS fund accounting solution for nonprofits. Our solutions can help you manage your books and account for complicated financial processes. Request a demo of MIP Fund Accounting® today to increase donations to your humanity organization and streamline your accounting processes.

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Kassandre Kallen

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