Your Future Rests on the Individual Donor

In the very earliest hours of the Trump administration, I was alerted to several articles describing an unannounced plan to eliminate key government funded areas that concern the arts — the NEA, the NEH, PBS and more. I’ll comment more fully when the facts are clearer.

I would imagine this will take time, as the new administration has far more pressing things it wants to do in its first 100 days. That said, no matter what happens, here’s what we know to be true: raising money from motivated, enthusiastic individual donors is the fastest and most direct way to support your organization. Did you know that 70% of all giving in the US is from individuals?   

Having raised money myself in my role as ED of the American Symphony, what amazed me was that by far the biggest grants we got were from individuals who confirmed their gifts over a lunch or a phone call. No grant applications, no waiting with months of uncertainty, no committees to meet with…

Your biggest and best strategy in these uncertain times is to build individual relationships with your ticket-buyers and identify and nurture those who can become the future bedrock of your organization. It’s often the case that an arts organization is held up by one or two donors. If your organization is like that, how much better off would your organization be if you had 10 more just like them?  

Where will you find them? Stand at your venue’s front door — they are coming in all the time!

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