Five art-based fundraising ideas

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Many popular fundraising events today revolve around sports – such as run/bike/ride events, bowl-a-thons, golf tournaments and more. But exploring creative and educational fundraising ideas involving art forms is sure to be engaging for many audiences that may not gravitate towards active fundraisers. Changing the limits of how you can raise money through art is an exciting endeavor and we’re here to give you some ideas.

From the global trend of street art to classical technique, art is as varied as people. And indeed each individual takes art forms to unique and authentic heights. We reach places within ourselves through its expression whether through viewing art, watching an artist work or creating our own masterpieces. Sharing art with a loved one in any form can be the richest of experiences. Art-based fundraising ideas can be every bit as varied and moving.

Imagine how reaching donors and event participants through art has the power to impact your fundraising campaign. See the possibilities for your nonprofit and prepare yourself to be inspired with the ideas that follow.

Fundraising Idea #1: Chalk art or street mural festivals

Give your community a thrill by creating street murals about town. Teams can be formed to plan murals ahead of the festival at schools, businesses, community organizations, families and groups of friends. They’ll register as a team on your crowdfunding website and promote the event to their circle of contacts. Skilled chalk artists from all over the area may want to participate in your fundraising event as individual participants, so absolutely and positively advertise through social media. Plan several blocks of mural space and have food vendors sponsor the event to delight the crowd as they enjoy the art walk.

Chalk art festivals may happen in conjunction with other art activities held at your main event space. Dedicate an entire weekend to give your muralists plenty of time, with ample time for you to raise money through other art forms. At your event space, add in other art fundraising ideas such as an art trade fair, photo booth, portrait photographer, sculpture class, painting class, face painting or a fashion show. Add a kiosk in key places in your city to show the chalk festival mural map, and one within your main event space.

Art raises awareness

Street murals may be painted throughout a weekend or week-long art fundraising event. Check with business owners or city officials for permission to paint a few murals on parking lot walls, run-down buildings or city walls. Street art nonprofit fundraising campaigns present nonprofit organizations a chance to paint their cause publically and raise awareness about the environment or hunger, and create beauty that provokes and motivates donors.

Fundraising Idea #2: Art education walks

Hold an art fundraising event in a string of art galleries or large event spaces with artists performing a live teaching presentation. Watch them work on the spot with paint and sculpture. This idea could branch into participants having a hands on art experience as they learn from skilled artists. Painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramicists and textile designers holding live teaching performances will empower and captivate many donors. Charge an admission fee and an additional fee to participate. Bring out the artists is your community members.

Fundraising Idea #3: Art trade fairs

One person’s cast off are another’s treasure! Instead of purchasing art, people trade art and find new gems while sharing their old ones at art trade fairs. Eligible art forms can include paintings, pottery, sculpture, textiles, antiques and photographs…you’ll think of more. Sell tickets for the art trade fair on your event website so that you’ll know how big of a space to dedicate. Sell extra tickets available at the door as the word spreads of your unique event. An art trade is fun to mix in with other activities to raise money for nonprofit and school fundraising campaigns.

Fundraising Idea #4: Interactive light show

An interactive light show which changes with the mood and flavor of the crowd and music is a great addition to your already energetic fundraising event. Your attendees will be texting their friends to come and see the show. If you cannot find a vendor to sponsor your event with sound and lighting talents, find talented students at your local schools or colleges who may donate their time and use of equipment. Kids and adults will be excited by this and learn from it.

Fundraising Idea #5: Portrait photography or selfie studio

Families love having photos for fireplace mantles and keepsakes. Kids change with every day and a portrait is lasting. A chance to have a high quality photo taken to capture the smiles while you’re out fundraising for a great cause, getting your face painted and having a blast is hard to resist. Fundraising teams will love this opportunity to have a professional photo as a memory of their success.

Another way to do this is with selfies. Photographers don’t quite offer the instant gratification we have come to enjoy of seeing the photo first and hitting delete and doing several retakes. Create a photo set with hats, costumes and branding stickers on hand to add to the fun. Participants can create their own selfies for a small fee.

Sponsor savoir faire

Since you are on a roll with creative fundraising ideas, think outside the box in the sponsors you seek. Having great food at your event and a mix of good vendors to participate and sell their fabulous treats is a place to start. Yet finding sponsors who will offer tastings to promote their products is an additional way to attract sponsors to pay a fee to be at your event and raise money for your cause. How about an ethnic restaurant theme, or an organic and green theme? Include a potluck in which a set group of volunteers organize a menu and sell tickets to enter the homemade feast. A wine tasting booth for added chicness and ticket sales is not a bad idea.

How to start

1. Start with a meeting of the minds among your organization and its volunteers. Decide which type of art event you are the most psyched about. Decide whether to have a crowdfunding event or a charity gala. Discuss how many volunteers you’ll need to host a successful fundraiser, and start assigning tasks.

2. Find a great provider of fundraising software for the most popular types of nonprofit fundraising campaigns. Each fundraising software package should include an easy-to-use, customizable fundraising website where participants easily register and organizations securely processes online donations, sponsorship and ticket sales.

3. Advertise everywhere that you are holding an art fundraiser. Social media to both local and global audiences, local television and radio, newspapers, blogs, town hall meetings, newsletters, press releases, flyers, and poster. Hold impromptu meetings at cafes and on the front steps of your library or anywhere your creative spirit desires. Get into the art form of advertising and create a sensation with your art fundraising event.

I hope you like these art-based fundraising ideas to mix-up your summer fundraising.

Maureen has been working with DoJiggy for 5 years, and has a strong background in nonprofit fundraising. While with The Nature Conservancy for 7 years prior, she learned the inner workings of marketing to the State of California within the external affairs department. Her heart is in her writing as she believes in the power of change through nonprofit organizations.

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