When it comes to fundraising, creativity counts. For the 479 arts, culture and humanities organizations participating in North Texas Giving Day on September 14, ingenuity is the key to their success.
The Communities Foundation of Texas’ online fundraiser is in its ninth year, supporting more than 2,900 nonprofits in 16 counties in North Texas. Last year, $37 million was raised for those nonprofits and this year, organizations are hoping North Texas will continue its record-breaking generosity.
To stand out, arts organizations combine social media, emails, photos, and videos to entice donors. The Communities Foundation of Texas offers marketing and social media training to help organizations prepare for the big day with 1,318 people taking advantage of in-person training sessions.
“We really just help them share ideas with each other. We help them share best practices,” Carol Goglia, Communities Foundation of Texas’ senior director of marketing, said.
Southlake Carroll Dragon Band and Grapevine High School Mustang Band are banding together on North Texas Giving Day. Music, school pride and a cross-town rivalry inspired a friendly battle of the bands as a digital campaign.
“We’ve never participated in North Texas Giving Day and we just decided to go for it,” Gretchen Casel, a Southlake Carroll Dragon Band drum major, said.
“We thought this would be a great way for both our bands to support each other and support fine arts in the district,” Jonathan Benzick, a Grapevine High School drum major, said.
“Our bands have run into each other at football games and band competitions and we’ve always respected each other,” Sam Ma, a Southlake Carroll Dragon Band drum major, said.
Everyone from the students, the band directors, the school’s superintendent and mayor are willing to help make the campaign a success.
Amphibian Stage Productions uses the giving marathon to encourage supporters to give their first gift by offering them a behind-the-scenes look.
“It’s really a day when we can recruit first-time donors. Since it has that bonus, it gives that incentive to give that day,” Heather Quinn Gage, Amphibian Stage Productions’ development manager, said. “It takes a lot of trust to give for the first time. To build that trust, we thought about how our audience is a part of our work. They are a part of our family.”
Using social media outlets and in emails throughout the day, the theater will post photos from this season’s productions with captions about how donors can become part of the scene, from "$25 can buy a headlamp for an awesome audience experience" to "a $100 gift can get a safe for a not-so-secret heist."
Last year, Amphibian Stage Productions raised $14,000. This year, the company hopes to raise $20,000.
Theatre Three wants patrons and artists to think about how the arts help them lead a more vibrant and fulfilled life. In their #T3Strong campaign, the theater created a video with new artistic director, Jeffrey Schmidt, working out in the theater’s Uptown Dallas facility and encouraging the public to create and share their own videos and photos of how they live a lifestyle that strengthens mind, body and creativity. The theater will share selected photos and videos on their social media outlets.
Shakespeare Dallas’ fundraising video includes a paper fan of Shakespeare’s portrait extoling the benefits of Shakespeare Dallas. The likeness of the Bard compliments an actress on her acting abilities, encourages a financially-strapped family to see a show, and helps a young lover find the right words to invite a certain lady to a performance.
The video ends with the appeal: “Shakespeare has saved you, now it’s time to save Shakespeare.” Funds raised on North Texas Giving Day will support Shakespeare Dallas’ education programs and park performances.
Arts supporters are stretching their creative muscles for North Texas Giving Day. The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation is sponsoring four North Texas Giving Day prizes totaling $15,000 for nonprofits offering arts programs for youth.
“One of our goals of the Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation is to elevate awareness of the importance for arts education and the need for support. North Texas Giving Day is the perfect vehicle to start the discussion... and after all who doesn't like a little friendly competition,” Kevin Hurst, director of Charitable Giving and Associate Volunteerism at Neiman Marcus Group, said.
In addition to benefiting North Texas nonprofit organizations, North Texas Giving Day is also supporting those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Donors can contribute to Mass Care Task Force, a collaboration between American Red Cross North Texas Region, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command, North Texas Food Bank, and VolunteerNow, or to Communities Foundation of Texas’ Relief and Recovery Fund.
“There’s just an unending need here in North Texas. I hope everyone who gave last year gives again and brings a friend,” Goglia said. “Nonprofits need more help than ever.”
To schedule a donation now or donate on September 14, visit www.NorthTexasGivingDay.org.
Kimberly Richard is a North Texan with a passion for the arts. She’s worked with Theatre Three, Inc. and interned for the English National Opera and Royal Shakespeare Company. She graduated from Austin College and currently lives in Garland with her very pampered cocker spaniel, Tessa.