Tools: Fundraising

The Fay Slover Fund at The Boston Foundation prioritizes funding organizations demonstrating financial sustainability and the ability to raise funds from other sources.

One of The Art Connection’s most creative challenges (we’re not alone!) since inception has been raising money to support our program. Where do we focus already limited resources in order to increase our resources? How do we limit our expenses? And where do we start?

We started like many nonprofits, without a great amount of capital. We limited expenses with our art donation and placement program by avoiding costs for: transporting art, framing art, and (initially) storing art. We made use of volunteers (often without any staffing) to run both the art donation and placement program and build the board and infrastructure of the organization. We also had the critical support of our founder and her network of connections.

We worked to develop a fundraising strategy that that was not dependent on a single source of income, but a portfolio of sources, almost all from “contributed income” (gifts), including: individual giving, foundation giving, and  government support (local, state, federal). We’ve had difficulty attracting corporate support. In our formative years, we were dependent on foundation support and fortunate to receive substantial grants from local community foundations.

Our individual giving program encompassed a range of activities: peer-to-peer networking and face-to-face requests for gifts, personal letter campaigns, direct mail efforts, house parties, and events, ranging from intimate to large galas and our more recent Art BINGO fundraiser.