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08/05/2015

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Liz Lisle

I agree with Jill that Chapter 6 might be the most important one in the book. Fundraising is almost always met with trepidation, and it was very refreshing to read an opinion that presents asking for money as something that can actually feel great.

The more we get into individual giving at my organization, the more we realize the conversations and interactions we have with potential donors are just as important as the size of the check they give us later. Learning how to do a good pitch for your cause is vital, but even more than that, you need to learn how to have an exciting and inspirational discussion about art and its presence in our world. People support the arts because they believe that art is important. Every time I get to really talk to someone personally about WHY art is important, I learn something about them and about myself. Patrons of the arts want to take part in what we are up to - they can participate with money, but more often than not they also want to invest in the conversation.

Spending time with potential donors can actually be really fun. They are looking at your work critically, and want to tell you what they love and hate about it. They have ideas about what could be done better, and what is going really well. This is all invaluable information, and it creates a bond between you. Later, when you ask them for support, it's not just about the dollar, it's about the art, and it feels real.

I used to be creeped out about fundraising, and now it's one of my favorite things to think about.

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