We believe that there is great potential for small arts and cultural organisations to build a new or increased income stream from its supporter base through individual giving. Our own research and that from other studies on charity donors, show a positive correlation between participation in charitable organisations or causes, and the level of donations of those who participate.
Given that many consumers of arts/cultural activity, especially committed audience/visitor members, experience a special rapport with the artform(s) they love and the organisation(s) they go to means that your most likely donors will be found, first and foremost, among your audience or participants.
An effective individual giving programme is not just about asking for money. It is about using the most cost-effective way possible for your organisation. It is about understanding your potential donors, and building a relationship with them and exceeding their expectations. Therefore you need to ensure that you have the systems in place to ask for donations, record the gift accurately, thank the donor promptly and appropriately, and offer opportunities to them to support you in other ways.
It doesn’t have to mean investing huge sums of money or creating a scheme that is overly time-consuming or complicated, but to be effective it will almost certainly mean investing a lot of thought.
For example (see photo), the National Theatre of Scotland encouraged people to donate in exchange for an email Christmas Card they could send to friends, to enable disadvantaged young people to attend their production of A Christmas Carol.
See also pages about crowdfunding.
Our members pages contain valuable research on why donors give and tools to help develop individual giving. To read more about membership click here.