If you live in the Mid-Columbia area, you might be looking forward to buying your tickets for the 4th Annual Mid-Columbia Arts Fundraiser. What a great way to support four organizations with one ticket: the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre, Mid-Columbia Symphony, and Mid-Columbia Ballet. At a time when organizations suffer from event fatigue and express concern about donor competition, these four organizations have come together to create one fundraiser: a multi-talented, arts-packed evening of entertainment around a theme.
The 3rd Annual Mid-Columbia Arts Fundraiser brought the “fab four” together for a Beatles themed night, to great acclaim. They raised $175,000 with 500 attendees happy to only have to attend one event to support the arts. They attracted corporate sponsors who might not have signed onto smaller events. And they showed their community how they could collaborate together, which is particularly important as they raise funds for a new performing arts center that will serve as a resource for all the organizations.
Why the decision to collaborate? As Wendy Veysey, Managing Director of the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, told us, all of the area arts nonprofits were conducting their own fundraising efforts, which were beginning to feel stale. They decided to pull together their resources for one grand event.
- “We can do more together.” Every group brings something unique to the table. By playing off the strengths of each organization, the collective was stronger together and able to further the impact of their mission.
- Split everything absolutely equally. You can’t quantify the strengths that different orgs and people are bringing to events. This was a high level decision from the beginning of the planning process.
- Focus on collaborating with groups in the closest sphere of influence. By working with organizations with a similar field of service, they were able to really showcase the arts and connect with a dedicated donor base.
- Have patience and stick to it. Collaborations are not easy to start, and planning for large events needs to start early. But the benefits reach far beyond financial gain: they also paved the way for other nonprofits in the community to collaborate together. You cannot put a tangible value on demonstrating that you can work together.
- It’s amazing how much philosophies and administrative practices differ between organizations. Talking and listening to each other is imperative if you’re going to work together to create something.
- This is a long-term process and investment. Don’t reinvent the wheel every time. Go with what works, and trust that every year it will improve.
The Mid-Columbia Mastersingers‘ mission is to transform lives through the power of choral music. They have been a Washington Nonprofits member since 2015.