There’s lots of good news about Power2Give, the creative new fundraising project for the arts that was introduced to our region by Culture Works in March.
The idea is to connect donors from an eight-county region to arts projects via the web. Nationally, Power2Give has raised more than $4.75 million since it was conceived in Charlotte in August 2011.
The local news is positive as well: Culture Works has announced that $125,867 has been raised since the project’s inception, $59,107 of that in matching funds.
On Monday, Culture Works will be receiving a second Signature Grant from DP&L for $50,000 in matching funding. Organizations will receive a 50 cent match for every dollar donated. The company also donated $50,000 to the project at its inception.
Community outreach manager Holly Wiggins says DP&L is excited to award this additional grant.
“This online giving platform has drawn the attention of many new, young donors who can give directly to projects that excite them as individuals,” Wiggins says. “The DP&L Foundation believes that matching gifts are a great way to ensure that every dollar donated maximizes the goal of bringing to life a new cultural project expanding the vibrancy and attractiveness of our communities.”
Of the 48 projects that have closed and come down off the site, 21 were fully funded, according to Martine Meredith Collier, president and CEO of Culture Works. Unlike Kickstarter and some other websites, Power2Give projects that don’t reach their goal within the 90-day maximum, still receive partial funding.
Other positive news: about 37 percent of Power2Give donors are new to the organizations.
“After their project closes, we ask every organization how many of their donors to the project were new and had never given to their organization before,” Collier explains. “We have shown that this program does attract new donors and I think that’s why DPL Foundation felt that this is a good investment in the community because it’s building philanthropy.”
She reports 639 donations have been made in recent months; the average gift made on the site is $105.
Barbara Pontecorvo, artistic director of the Gem City Ballet, says her organization was “extremely happy” with Power2Give.
“We asked for a little more than $2,000 to fund a Balanchine ballet, and we raised it in three days!” she says. “We are planning to submit another project — we’re going to be doing ‘Sleeping Beauty’ with the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra — and I think I’m going to ask for funding for one of the costumes.”
David Moyer, board president of the Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus says his organization hoped to raise $5,000 to add members of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra to the recent production of “I Am Harvey Milk.”
He says the results were all positive.
“We raised all of our funds, opened ourselves up to new donors, and Power2Give gave us the ability to take our production value to a whole new level,” Moyer says.
Social media key to success
“Organizations that utilized social media consistently and effectively were the most likely to be fully funded, ” Collier says. “If their strategy is just to ‘post it and they will come,’ it doesn’t work.”
She says while Culture Works promotes the site itself, the individual organizations need to post their particular projects. Social media is a particularly effective way of doing this. To help nonprofits achieve better results, Culture Works has been hosting a monthly Power Hour.
“We set up a classroom and bring in experts on social media to talk to the organizations about how to do a better job in promoting their project,” Collier explains. “A lot of these organizations are smaller and don’t know a lot about social media so we feel we’re not only giving them training for Power2Give but we’re also showing them ways to integrate social media into their other marketing initiatives. And it’s all provided free of charge.”
Collier says another lesson organizers have learned in recent months is that a great photo will get those unacquainted with your organization to click on your project and learn more about it. The Widow’s Home of Dayton is a case in point.
“Their project received a lot of positive feedback about their photo choice,” Collier says.
Another surprising fact: some people will not make a donation with a credit card online, but prefer to purchase a gift card by check and made their online donation that way. “We’re hoping that as holiday season approaches, folks will choose to give Power2Give gift cards for the holidays,” Collier says.
She says nonprofit organizations in our area are being notified that they can now start planning and posting new projects.
Organizations that received all of the funding requested for their initial projects include: Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, Gem City Ballet, United Rehabilitation Services, SMAG Dance Collective, Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus, Involvement Advocacy, Widow’s Home of Dayton, The Human Race Theatre Company, Musica, Darke County Center for the Arts, Bach Society of Dayton, Discover Classical 88.1 & 89.9FM Dayton Public Radio, Dayton Society of Painters and Sculptors,Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Preble County Historical Society, Yellow Springs Kids Playhouse, Springfield Museum of Art, The Dayton Art Institute, Yellow Springs Arts Council, Springfield Civic Theatre.