The Fund for the Arts launched the online fundraising platform Power2Give in Kentucky and Southern Indiana last December. In its first year, the platform has helped raise more than $700,000 in additional funds for the region’s arts organizations.
Power2Give uses what’s known as crowd-funding – individuals donate online directly to a project, to help meet a larger goal – to help organizations raise money for specific items and initiatives, from small construction and renovation projects to scholarships and travel fees for educational programs. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two reigning general crowdfunding platforms, but Power2Give focuses on arts and cultural nonprofits within a specific region.
There’s a $10,000 cap on funding goals, and the Fund for the Arts recruits corporate sponsors to match funds raised for many projects. 81 nonprofit organizations in Kentucky and Southern Indiana have used the platform to pursue funding goals in the last year.
The Louisville Ballet has launched seven fully-funded campaigns in the last year, including one to buy ballet shoes for Lincoln Elementary dance students, and another to help buy curtains for the Louisville Ballet School’s windows, which will keep the studio warm enough to dance in. Ballet spokesperson Cara Hicks says smaller, more specific projects appeal to donors who want to see fast, visible results.
“You’re giving something to something that’s very tangible and immediate and you’re seeing it go into effect immediately,” says Hicks.
“That’s money we wouldn’t have otherwise. These small projects for maintenance things – drapes in our studio – that seems like a no-brainer to some people, but these things cost money,” she adds.
Hicks says donations for the studio curtains project ranged from $5 to $200, and the average donation was about $50. The organization raised $500 through direct donations on the website, and the funds were then matched by LG&E and Kentucky Utilities, and the curtains went up. For donors who can’t underwrite an entire production or a new wing of a building with one check, Power2Give offers opportunities for smaller donations to add up in front of their eyes, with real-time totals updating on the project page.
“Every little coin in the fountain really helps,” says Hicks.
Power2Give was designed by the Arts and Science Council in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fund for the Arts was an early adopter, but now the platform operates in twelve markets, including Atlanta and Indianapolis. Fund for the Arts manages the Kentucky and Southern Indiana platform and provides support to participating organizations. Twelve percent of each donation covers administrative costs and credit card fees.