By Ann Marie Miller
Executive Director, Art Pride
In this hyper-connected world there are a multitude of online fundraising possibilities now available to non-profit organizations. It’s often dizzying to wade through them (Kickstarter and Razoo are just two) to find the “best fit.” For the last three years the Art Pride New Jersey Foundation has used the online auction as a way to draw attention to not only its programs and services, but to offer a brand new audience a glimpse of the many exciting cultural events happening throughout New Jersey.
Theaters, dance companies, performing arts centers and museums have all donated tickets to help Art Pride continue its work promoting the value of the arts to our daily lives. Art Pride staff took some cues from our astute destination marketing organizations (DMO) by creating tourism packages for the auction that match cultural events with dinners at local restaurants and, in some cases, hotel stays in Cape May, New Brunswick and Princeton. In a few instances, the DMOs donated their own cultural tourism packages, like the one offered by Destination Jersey City that features salon services and an overnight stay along with gala tickets to Art House Production’s annual Snow Ball.
It’s a win-win for all involved. Bidders come from as far as San Jose, CA and Hawaii to bid on getaways, cultural experiences, and unique items autographed by New Jersey artists and entertainers. Savion Glover recently autographed tap shoes for Art Pride’s auction when he performed at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and Maplewood resident and Tony-award winning actor Norbert Leo Butz agreed to have dinner with a highest auction bidder at a local eatery. The range of items for auction is diverse geographically and culturally, showcasing the best that New Jersey arts groups offer all year round.
As with all fundraising special events, the online auction requires board and staff support from hunting down attractive items to answering questions from individual bidders, to assuring that payments are made and items are appropriately delivered. Marketing is essential and Art Pride uses every tool in the box from traditional direct mail, to our blog, to social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to get the word out during an intense two week stretch that includes the annual last minute bidding wars!
Is it all worth it? We think so! The Art Pride New Jersey Foundation has reaped $10,000 from its online auction that is a fun alternative to the traditional annual fund appeal at the end of the calendar year (although you can donate cash through the auction page, too). This year’s auction ends TONIGHT at 8pm on, so check your watch and get your credit card ready to make a bid and give a gift of New Jersey arts this holiday season.
Go to the auction before it’s too late!
Ann Marie Miller is the Executive Director of Art Pride, the premier arts advocacy organization in New Jersey, and a regular contributor to the Dodge blog.