In 2016, Tasmanian artist Karen Revie ran an incredibly successful ACF campaign to raise funds for #MATCHstick Projects 2016, a suite of artistic projects for Streets Alive @ The Precinct, a multi-arts and cultural experience. Below, Karen outlines her top tips and provides insight into how she approached her campaign, and fundraising more broadly.
At a glance
Project: #MATCHstick Projects 2016
$ raised: $10,650
Have you considered how you will build on the success of your fundraising campaign for future projects?
Running a campaign forces you to consider your whole artistic future from a financial point of view. What I am trying to do is to adopt a business model as an artist. So I plan to use all the knowledge that I have learnt so far to do this.
What was the most important thing you learnt in your ACF campaign that you will use in future campaigns?
Definitely trying to switch to a business model. Learning to think of yourself as a business woman as well as an artist is very important.
Approaching people with money means you have to have a lot of diplomacy. I am not necessarily dealing with people in my own demographic. If I want to get their support, I really need to mix diplomatically with people.
What tips for success would you like to share with other artists who are fundraising through the ACF?
I would first of all, tell any artist that they want to stay well. We are very lucky to work in the arts but artists are usually not in a privileged position where we get superannuation, sick leave, professional development, holiday pay. We are on our own. When we finally do get funding, we are expected to put in a lot of in-kind hours. So my first advice is to look after yourself, as it can be very tiring. Make sure you stay well rested, eat well, drink lots of fluids.
As well as that, it pays to be well organised. When we started our campaign, we felt really organised. You need to make it easy for yourself so that when you are campaigning, the amount of work that you are putting into it is equalled by the return.
We spent a long time focusing on people who we thought would be big donors. Make sure to pump the DGR status. If you’re a large donor, tax deductibility does matter.
Tasmania is a small pond and all artists here pretty much all know each other. Everyone is very supportive.
You received 52 donations ranging from $4 to $4000. Can you tell us about your approach to asking for different donation amounts?
I really like the personal approach. If you are sending out emails, it really pays to send your emails out individually. It’s a little bit time consuming, but I know as the recipient of bulk emails that if you are getting a bulk email asking for a contribution you never feel quite so special as if you were to get that individually.
When we had potentially large donors, we would have lunch with them and make them feel special.
Finally, can you summarise your experience fundraising through the ACF?
I really appreciated doing this through the ACF. From my point of view, what I liked about this was the DGR status. This is an automatic bonus.
My other bonus is that the name ‘Australian Cultural Fund’ gives me credibility. When you’re marketing to potential donors, you’ve got a lot more credibility because you’re backed up by a large organisation.