Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Name Game Is Still Same—All About Money

“Chiseling your name in the stone, or we can name after you.” It’s such a tempting idea for plutocrats to donate millions of dollars to a philharmonic theatre or a museum, isn’t it?


This article from The Wall Street Journal is an interesting one with a high-lightened headline for me, because in a comparatively philistine mindset, donors are triggered by fame and attention. And I used to believe in this, too. Nonetheless, just as what we have discussed in survey class about fundraising, if you actually ask a lot of donors, they’re not motivated by that. It’s usually the organization that thinks they are, so they put the name to cater donors.

In the article I think the author is kind of talking the stupid name game in a sarcastic tone, but it virtually reveals the fact that sometimes people cannot resist seeing their names on a hall though the public will ignore most of the names. Arts organizations are undoubtedly responsible to provide donors something more significant as a thank you feedback, such as fulfilling their mission and serve the community, however if the name game is still going on, I think it’s mostly harmless for arts organizations to keep doing so.


One comment on “Name Game Is Still Same—All About Money

  1. zeniasimpson
    November 25, 2014

    Definitely worth it. In general, most people wouldn’t donate no matter where you put their name if they didn’t believe in the organization in some way. For example, I love my high school (now). I want to donate, but somewhere between my busy schedule and a few splurging moments in Friendship Heights, I never get around to it. They mail out a seasonal brochure highlighting all the wonderful things they’re doing, and the one million and one ways to donate. They were sure to put many, many pages opportunities for your name to go on the new dormitory (for a mere $5 million) yet, no matter what the season, they put the names, by class, of who donated during the fiscal year. As always, I rush to the back of the brochure, and seeing someone donate who I was not expecting to at all made me feel more compelled to give, and I finally picked up the phone and sent my donation. I love my alma matar, I want to be on that list. Now, no list my college can send me will ever have me donate a dime. So, use the names. Use people’s egos and vanity and honest care and resources to your benefit.

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