A Most Necessary Indulgence
Wars are being waged; natural disasters are wreaking havoc; people are living in poverty; and children continue to be abused. In these troubling times, international- and domestic-relief agencies and social-service nonprofits have their work cut out for them. The need is disturbingly obvious.
But what of organizations that support the lovely things life has to offer? Music, dance, art, literature? No matter how ugly the world gets, they still have their missions. And it’s not always easy to convince people that their donations should go to support the arts instead of — or even in addition to — those organizations with seemingly more consequential missions.
Ana Papakhian is the director of communications for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, a $24 million organization made up of 87 full-time musicians who perform more than 200 concerts a year. Jeffrey Norman is the vice president of public affairs for the $26 million New Jersey Performing Arts Center, which — in addition to providing a full roster of events throughout the year — also lists as part of its mission the revitalization of the city of Newark, N.J.
Here, they share their insights about reaching potential donors to arts organizations and about why such funding is relevant in a world that seemingly has gone mad.
FundRaising Success: Who’s your target demographic as far as fundraising? What other demographic groups do you reach out to?
Ana Papakhian: Our target demographic is our audience, but some donors don’t attend. They like to support educational and outreach programs, etc. We reach out to thousands of people in the area each year through direct mail, e-mail, telefunding, etc.
Jeffrey Norman: NJPAC’s target demographic is really comprised of any of the 4 million patrons who’ve purchased tickets in the first nine seasons of [our] operations. This covers a wide cross-section of the metropolitan area, geographically, ethnically, socially, politically and in terms of wealth levels.
FS: What is the most effective approach (or message) for
organizations whose mission is music or other arts when trying to get people to give?
AP: Education seems to be a priority.