3 February 2014
Finding funds to sustain a non-profit organisation has never been an easy job and when the country’s in an economic squeeze, it gets even tougher. People get picky about the organisations they’ll support and any cause that seems like a “luxury” often gets pushed to the side. If you’re involved in an arts organisation, you probably know what I’m talking about.
As frustrating as it is, you need to accept that not everyone understands (or appreciates) the arts. There’s no point lamenting that the Government should allocate more funding or that businesses should get more involved. You’ll only wear yourself out.
Instead you need to focus on what you can control and learn how to better access the funds that are available. And trust me, there’s plenty available if you know where to look.
Before establishing Exult in 2007, I was CEO of a community-based arts centre in Tauranga. The board decided very early on that we would not rely on grants to stay afloat and it was expected that the centre would be largely self-sufficient. It seemed like a pretty big ask when most of our programmes were targeted at low-income or high-need participants. But it was – and still is – completely do-able. I’m not saying it was easy but it was definitely worth the effort.
Taking control of income
By taking control of our income, we no longer had to sit with fingers crossed while we waited for funding applications to be approved – or declined. We could plan programmes and services with much more certainty, knowing that our financial eggs were not all in one basket. And we had a really good time doing it.
Yes, we still made grant applications but we also developed consistent income streams through donations, membership, sponsorship, contracts and traditional fundraising events. We even established a couple of small, successful social enterprises. The grants we received were just the icing on the cake.
So why am I telling you this? Because the same concept can work for your organisation and there’s a workshop in Wellington coming up that will help you put it all into place.
The workshop is specifically for organisations involved in the arts and culture sector. Regardless of where you’re at on the fundraising ladder, I promise it will provide yu with some new ideas and a fresh way of looking at things.
It’s designed to be hands-on and is full of practical information that you can immediately use in your organisation – just ask the guys and girls at Arts Access Aotearoa.
When, where and cost
When: Thursday 13 March, 9.30am – 4pm
Where: Upper Chamber, Toi Pōneke Arts Centre, 61–63 Abel Smith St, Wellington
Cost: $120 per person
Facilitated by: Kerri Tilby-Price (that’s me)
The workshop is limited to 30 participants, so if you are keen to take part I suggest you register early to secure your space. Simply email email@example.com and let her know you’d like to attend. She’ll organise the rest from there.
Not from Wellington? You may be eligible for a travel subsidy through Te Papa.
Exult specialises in the business end of running a non-profit organisation. In the past five years, more than 5000 people have taken part in its fundraising and marketing-related workshops. Read more about Exult.