Fundraising for The Bhakti Project kind of got shelved over the summer, but now that I’m back in NYC the project is rapidly re-approaching front and center. There’s quite a fight in my head these days for prime real estate! Susanna, Barbarina, cover assignments, TBP, audition rep... the list goes on. But tonight: back to Bhakti.
Brainstorming was kicked into gear a bit tonight as I was visiting the Fractured Atlas site to check up on some things (notably, my account balance…). I came across this Wall Street Journal article, referenced on the FA blog: A New Generation Reinvents Philanthropy. The article focuses on social networking sites and charities like Kiva.org and FirstGiving.org, and having just started a Facebook Group for The Bhakti Project, this all sounded very familiar. (I’m also “friends” with Kiva.org on Facebook and have made three loans through this exciting micro-financing organization. I think I learned about Kiva from RC at one of our “Girls’ Night” parties this summer!)
I was inspired to create the Facebook group when I was “friended” by someone who has already made a couple of donations to TBP. I thought, “Hey, if he’s here, maybe there are other people who would like to get involved and keep tabs on the project via Facebook.” (Hmmm. I wonder about keeping a running list of donors on the Facebook page. I’ll have to run some polls…) Sure enough, in two days of existence, there are 61 members of the group, including some people who are not my “friends” in real life!
My goal for this project has always been to bring together lots of small donors, “every day” folks who can donate $50, $100, $250, or even just the price of a recital ticket. Larger gifts are beyond welcome, of course, and almost 50% of my current donations came from one donor. (You know who you are – thank you!) But I’ve always seen this as being a sort of “music commission of the people” sort of thing.
I’ve been trying and trying to figure out how to give public credit to my TBP donors, because part of the fun of helping to pay for something is to get your name put on it, right? Think of all those chairs at the symphony. I just had an idea that might work: When this cd gets recorded (Phase Three of the fundraising), I will list all the donors, all of the folks who literally made the project possible, in the booklet. So next year sometime (??), when our cd is released, you can share it with your friends and say, “I helped fund this art!” They don’t even have to know that your contribution cost less than your weekly coffee habit…
I’ve recently had two colleagues ask to talk with me about my fund-raising “strategy” as they are embarking on projects of their own. I’ll admit that there wasn’t much of a strategy in the early days, aside from “from where ever it is right now.” But things are cooking again, so to speak, and I can feel my passion about the project stirring up again. It’s the music, yes, but also the fund-raising. This is a new idea, this could change some things, this could bring the joy of creating new music to hundreds of people. Come join me! Let’s bring micro-financing to new music.