Linden New Art on integrating fundraising with gallery programs
Linden New Art were selected to work one-on-one with an experienced arts fundraising mentor as recipients of our Arts Fundraising Mentorship Program.
Linden New Art is a not-for-profit contemporary art gallery in St Kilda and a great exemplar of a small-to-medium gallery that’s successfully matching the performance of galleries triple their size.
They recently worked with State Manager for Victoria and Tasmania, Steven Richardson to develop a long-term fundraising strategy. They are also successful recipients of the Arts Fundraising Mentorship Program where they will continue working with an experienced mentor.
Since working with Steven they have developed and launched successful fundraising projects perfectly in sync with their gallery exhibition programs.
We spoke to Lyn Johnson, Linden New Art’s Development Manager on the secrets of fundraising and events.
How did you cross-promote fundraising with current exhibitions in the gallery calendar?
We identified the opportunity to launch an exciting new donor program, Linden Contemporaries alongside one of our most iconic annual exhibitions.
While our focus is and always will be the artists, the VIP preview of the Linden Postcard show afforded the opportunity to specifically target our key supporters and ask them to engage with us in a new way.
What were the outcomes of integrating fundraising programs with gallery goals?
Essentially the fundraising program and gallery goals shouldn’t be seen as separate, my role is to assist all of Linden New Art’s team to consider the opportunities that align with all the gallery’s programs; that any visitor, artist, stakeholder, lender or colleague, is a potential supporter.
One nice surprise was a long-term supporter joined the donor program and gave an extra donation. They felt we had a program they could connect to and be involved with.
Are events necessary for all fundraising campaigns?
Events are not always necessary, in our case we had a tried and tested successful exhibition to align the donor program with, particularly through the interconnections of exhibiting artists, private collectors and our focus on contemporary art.
We were careful not to overplay the donor program aspect in the exhibition marketing collateral and we had two of our Board members launch the program to demonstrate the way in which the Board is passionately connected to assisting the gallery to raise money to ensure we can create great exhibitions.
We were very careful in selecting a tailored guest list so as not to send mixed messages to our audiences. A well-planned communication strategy is essential to maintain a strong and targeted approach to fundraising.
What were the outcomes of the fundraising?
As I only joined Linden New Art in July 2017 and we planned to launch this new donor initiative in November we had a very short time frame to develop and literally road test the program.
We set a short-term goal to the end of 2017, and a 12-month goal, currently we are at 90% of our short-term goal and have a strategy in place to achieve the 12-month milestone.
At this early stage, we wouldn’t change anything but ask me in a years time! We are looking forward to presenting our first event for donors in March 2018 which will be a private tour of two passionate contemporary art collectors – one of them who is on our Board!
What would you recommend to small-to-medium arts organisations thinking about applying for any of our programs?
Linden has spent the last 4 years working hard behind the scenes to develop a strong organisation. This planning process has been detailed, such as the recruitment of a fundraising specialist on the Board, and this has set us up to start achieving some of our goals.
One of the great things about being a small to medium organisation is that you can get done things quickly.
When we first heard about the Arts Fundraising Mentorship Program we met with Matthew Morse, Executive Director, Strategy & Programs at Creative Partnerships to discuss where Linden was at and whether it would be a good fit for us now, or did we need to do some work before working with a mentor.
Meeting staff at Creative Partnerships and talking through your goals and aspirations can often help clarify what is important.
By identifying us as a candidate for the program, and successfully applying, we have received great support for our short and long-term fundraising plans that involve everyone from our Board and our staff, so we are all on the journey together to achieve great things for Linden New Art.
What are some the exciting things that Linden New Art will be doing in 2018?
Come August we hope to be back in our renovated Acland Street home and reopening with our ambitious and exciting solo exhibition with Julia de Ville.
Our iconic Postcards show will see the year out and of course, our donor program will be in full swing!
You can support the ongoing fundraising projects at Linden New Art here.
Australian arts organisations are eligible for our Arts Fundraising Mentorship Program. Find out more about the program here.