Crowdfunder for arts groups tops expectations

Image credit: Jim Frazier

Image credit: Jim Frazier

 | February 10. 2014 | St. Louis Business Journal – A crowdfunding website that allows St. Louis arts organizations to raise money through social media has exceeded initial expectations, officials say.

The Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis (A&E) began offering Power2givein November.

So far in St. Louis, about 26 projects have raised $53,614 from 841 donors. The average donor gave $73.

Cindy Prost, president of A&E, said the organization had expected to bring in $50,000 in new donations over the first year. The total raised after a little more than three months has been a surprise, she said.

“There’s been a lot of focus on how to keep people posting projects,” Prost said.

Some notable raises have included:

  • The Mustard Seed Theatre at Fontbonne University raised $4,964.
  • The Stray Dog Theatre near Tower Grove Park raised $6,864.
  • And the St. Louis Poetry Center has raised $1,586.

Eight projects are still accepting donations, but more projects will likely launch once those end, Prost said.

Prost said that all of the participating arts and culture organizations have learned a great deal about nontraditional fundraising. “When using social media to fundraise for your organization,” she said, “it’s about the engagement and the conversation you have about the impact on the community as opposed to a statement of ‘please give to us now.’”

Power2give was created by the Arts & Science Council in Charlotte, N.C., in 2011 in response to the economic downturn. According to a statement from Power2give, the platform is now operational in 18 other cities and has raised more than $3.1 million in aggregate funds across 1,400 projects.

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