A new crowd-funding site for nonprofit arts groups in Tampa Bay raised over $23,000 in its first month of operation.
is similar to popular crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarer, but with a focus on local arts and culture organizations. Groups are encouraged to list projects that have specific, short term results that help donors feel a part of the organization’s initiatives.
Three projects were fully funded during the first month of operation:
• Florida Museum of Photographic Arts’
Camera Obscura Project, a PODS structure that served as a life size camera at the 2014 Gasparilla Festival of the Arts.
• Community Stepping Stones
’ "I Am River" project, a feature-length video of personal tales from students about the Hillsborough River.
• VSA Florida’s
"Animation Gets Real," a camp that allows children with autism to learn computer animation.
In addition to these, several other projects received funding such as Ruth Eckerd Hall’s
jazz band’s trip to a competition in Savannah, which was 64% funded through the site. Ruth Eckerd also found that a majority of the people who gave through the site were first time donors or significantly increased their donations from the past.
"We were hoping not only that these projects would get funded for groups in the area, but also that it would help to expand the arts audiences for the organizations," says Terri Simons, Director of Program Services, Arts Council of Hillsborough County
, the department that coordinates the site. "Through developing these relationships, it would continue their growth. It was very encouraging."
All in all, 193 donations were received during the first month.
Organizations found social media to be one of the best sources of spreading the word about their projects. They also utilized email lists and asked board members to spread the word. Many groups followed up with those who donated through the site, asking them to share and creating a domino effect.
The Gobioff Foundation
provided matching donations the first month, and a second anonymous donor is doing the same this month.
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Terri Simons, Arts Council of Hillsborough County