Tips for Business Start Ups: some simple musical advice on effective fundraising

Fundraising in the arts has frequently relied on some unfortunate individual in a corner churning out application after application, destined to cut and paste from one incomprehensible form to another day after day until its time to go home and continue his or her hobby of filling in forms in the safety of their own bedroom.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. Fundraising and it’s associated activities is fundamentally a privileged role as it means that you’re involved in plotting out your own future, not having to rely on the whims and mercies of other fundraisers who may not have your best interests close to their hearts. The activity of fundraising should therefore be a much more joyous process involving not only your own heart, mind, body and soul, but those organs of your compatriots too.

Good – the best – fundraising – is  like playing in a band where you’re all making music  together in a spirit of collaboration, song making and making musical history.  This need not be only a solo or duo act – it can be a collective one, where the pleasure might come from the improvisation around the table, the sense of let’s create a whole new world together through the reading of guidelines, the wrestling with language and the joy of multiple script writing like the comic teams who work together to write Friends and all those other income generating concepts.  If they can do it with soaps, can we not do it with local authority contracts and tenders?

All you need is to know who’s playing what, who’s singing what and what to do with the drummer. Get that right, develop the right groove and your fundraising will become the most enlightening spiritual performance you will have encountered for a long time. Of course ‘artistic differences’ will surface once in a while – but if your income generating band got to make the equivalent of Pink Floyd’s  Dark Side of the Moon at least once in it’s existence, would that not be something worth living through? The only problem you’re left with is what to do with the unfortunate individual who’s still stuck in the corner.

Author: drnicko

Awarded an MBE for services to arts-based businesses, I am passionate about generating inspiring, socially engaging, creative practice within educational contexts both nationally and internationally.

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