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The New Arts of Engagement

by Victoria Jones and Kieran McTague

Posted August 6, 2018

Engagement is all the rage in successful fundraising initiatives today.  As donors seek impact through their giving, personal fulfillment through their philanthropy, and high touch opportunities, the best fundraising programs are investing more than ever in a donor’s engagement with their organizations. This is especially true in the arts. From highly personalized engagement to better special events and innovative social media, arts organization do it particularly well.  A number of our arts clients credit effective engagement as key to their success in reaching new goals.  Here are a few.

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Revolution: The Campaign for the Concord Museum centered around bringing American history and the American Revolution to life and making it relevant to a contemporary society. The Museum’s recently-completed campaign built a new education center and community lyceum where school children, families, Concordians of all ages, and visitors from around the world could experience events of long ago in lessons of freedom, democracy, and climate change, in addition to more traditional history lessons. This creative engagement was key to campaign success, bringing a new perspective to how prospects and donors saw the potential of the Museum.

In concert with its centennial, Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) launched Beyond Extraordinary, a campaign to build endowment to ensure that audiences of all ages, geographies, and knowledge of the arts could continue to engage with art as a way of enriching their lives. In addition to its monetary goals, PAAM also launched a campaign of a different kind: collecting 100 works of art. These collected paintings offered prospects and donors an exciting, unprecedented opportunity to see new work – and motivated donors old and new to unprecedented levels of philanthropic support.

Storm King Art Center is a 500-acre outdoor museum located in New York’s Hudson Valley, where visitors experience large-scale sculpture and site-specific commissions under open sky. Storm King is dedicated to stewarding the hills, meadows, and forests of its site and surrounding landscape. Building on the visionary thinking of its founders, changing exhibitions, programming, and seasons offer visitors a new discovery with every visit. This discovery has transformed many visitors into major donors.

Described by its founder as a playground without walls, a place to explore, experiment, and construct, The Yard located on Martha’s Vineyard supports diverse, contemporary dance-makers in their creative process. A priority for the organization is engaging Islanders of all ages in dance. MAKING IT, The Yard’s innovative dance-making curriculum, is a model that uses dance as an outlet to connect curricular themes, build collaborations, spark creativity, and support critical thinking. While The Yard’s main season runs from May to September, MAKING IT has recently been made into an active year-round program in virtually all Island schools as well as at the YMCA, Island libraries, the Farm Institute, and the island’s senior and assisted living centers.

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