Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Individual Giving Gets Its Own Day

THURSDAY! THURSDAY! THURSDAY!

On Thursday, October 2nd the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and Pittsburgh Foundation will hold Arts Day of Giving. The 18-hour online fundraising event aims to raise $2 million or more for approximately 150 nonprofit arts and cultural groups in Western Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. This is the second event of its kind for the area, the first in 2011 raised $1.4 million from individual donors.

This event plays upon the importance that the largest segment of donations to nonprofit arts groups come from individual giving, and since the recession, its time to remind the public that we need their help. Things are looking up, as the article states, and donations to the arts, culture, and humanities in 2013 grew by almost 8%. I like the idea of a “day of giving” and feel that effort to reach this regional area will act as a call to arms. The other attractive factor is that a donor is supporting not one single organization, but many, which gives them that warm fuzzy feeling to maybe reach a little deeper into those pockets.

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2 comments on “Individual Giving Gets Its Own Day

  1. carolynsupinka18
    October 2, 2014

    The word ‘Pittsburgh’ in this article caught my eye! This sounds like a really great initiative. Looking over the list of organizations who will benefit from this day of giving, I recognize a lot of names that are amazing initiatives that would put the money to good use in community engagement and arts education. A.I.R., Assemble, City of Asylum…Pittsburgh has so many innovative programs. But aside from how awesome that city is, I wonder how this ‘day of giving’ affects donations during the rest of the year? I remember listening to a Radiolab podcast that referenced blood drives, and how, after a huge tragedy, people will rush to blood banks to donate. Blood banks actually discourage this, because the rush will mean that later on in the year, less people will be motivated to donate because they feel that they have already done their share.
    This isn’t to say that these events are very comparable at all! This sounds like an amazing idea, and it did extremely well in its first year. I’m just curious as to how (if at all!) it affects the amount of individual donations received throughout the rest of the year to these individual organizations. Maybe the huge amount received during this day of giving are actually MORE than what might be received in more incremental amounts.
    Thank you for this info! I hadn’t heard about this initiative before. There really is a ‘call to arms’ feel. I’m going to donate tomorrow and share this with my friends in the burgh!

  2. jaredchamoff
    October 3, 2014

    I really like what you said about making such initiatives making donors warm and fuzzy. I definitely think that having devoted to Annual Giving would make donors feel warm and fuzzy.

    I think that what is also great about recognizing donors in this way is that it debunks the myth that non-profits make all the money they need to function on event revenue. That simply isn’t true! I bet that such events would help to increase the number of people who donate, for they’ll realize how crucial their help would be to the organization.

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