Junction Arts Festival on refocusing to achieve a fundraising goal
Junction Arts Festival was one of our success stories from Plus1 2014/15.
We spoke with Executive Director Natalie Devito about the success of their fundraising strategy.
Tell us about your Plus1 fundraising strategy.
Our target was $50,000. We raised $51,092.
Being based in Launceston, Tasmania, a small regional centre, it was important that our campaign targeted diverse income streams, supported increased awareness and outreach, and enabled long-term relationship building and audience growth.
Our strategy for Plus1 aimed to raise private sector support through five strands that involved both targeted and broad approaches, within a range of short and long-term timeframes: existing and new foundations and trusts, existing and new corporate sponsors, new patrons, new entry-level donors and relationship building fundraising events.
For us it was also important to promote the matching funds through Plus1. For many of our Plus1 supporters, the ‘matching’ was a major factor that brought them over the line, no matter how small or large the contribution.
Describe your project and the outcomes you hope to achieve.
Our Plus1 project has several components. The first is to build our fundraising capacity, through a dedicated development staff role, which we currently do not have.
Alongside this, we were in need of fundraising infrastructure to improve our long-term fundraising – an organisation-wide information management system with a CRM database, online ticketing system, cost-benefit analyses, designed sponsorship and patron solicitation materials, better brand/marketing alignments and segmentations, and more streamlined sponsorship and giving administration and monitoring.
Another component of our project was linked with our programming, to reactivate a hidden abandoned space throughout the year as a Festival venue to attract audiences and increase partnership and donor relations.
We are in the process of implementing these, which we hope will support better research, solicitation and relationship building long-term as well as support audience development and ticket purchasing, and the establishment of an ongoing individual giving program.
Have you increased your knowledge and skills in fundraising and partnerships as a result of Plus1?
Absolutely. We fundraise a large percentage of our operating budget annually, but this was our first fundraising campaign, and it was a major one. The CP1 total project funds represent approx. 1/5th of our operating budget, so growth management also plays a big part in our strategy and sustainability.
We had several setbacks initially. Although we were hopeful, there were certainly times that we didn’t think we’d get anywhere close to meeting our target. But, we pushed on and reached it in the end.
It was also an organisation-wide process, and we refocused our attention to achieving our goal. All staff members were involved in the campaign in some way, and understood the importance and potential positive impact it could have on the long-term growth of the organisation.
Most importantly for us, reaching our target confirmed to us that we were on the right track, and our strategy was the right one at the right time.
Did the fundraising activity bring new donors? Any tips on how to cultivate them?
Yes. What we found most exciting about Plus1 and the connection through Creative Partnership Australia’s Australian Cultural Fund, was that we received donations from across Australia from donors who we’ve never met. We didn’t expect that, and quite frankly, it pretty near made us cry.
We began part of our relationship building in earnest last year, approaching potential patrons and new audience members who are passionate about the arts and their city, but who hadn’t attended Junction previously. Working with a ‘Friend’ of the Festival, we introduced them to Junction, our vision, and then showed them the time of their life at the Festival.
We targeted several new corporate businesses, in part through our Board President who was instrumental in similarly linking us to them. That first step is our biggest hurdle.
Will Plus1 leave a positive legacy in your organisation?
Yes! There is no doubt that our Plus1 fundraising campaign will have a lasting impact on our organisation, providing much-needed capacity that will support long-term sustainability.