A diversified fundraising plan should be adopted for maximum results. The following check list is helpful in developing a variety of fundraising strategies. Some of the most successful fundraising is done by having the right contacts, however hard work and perseverance pay off too. Developing credibility as an organization is essential to gain the trust of donors.

Charitable status
It is helpful to be able to issue charitable tax receipts if you are trying to solicit individual donations.

Corporate fundraising
At the symposium, many people agreed that corporate fundraising is currently flat and has become even worse since 9/11. Nevertheless, murals are often sponsored by corporations in smaller communities if they see a benefit to the local economy.

Government grants
There are many grant opportunities, federal, provincial and municipal. Accessing these requires some research into the grants available for specific purposes and regions. Grants officers are available to provide assistance. There is a great deal of information on the Internet about these grants. Ontario Trillium Foundation receives revenue from Casino revenues and is good grant option.

Foundation grants
It is a labour intensive process researching and applying to private foundations, but the rewards can be great. Several groups use Big On Line as a research tool. This data service is available for a price.

Individual giving campaigns
These can be very successful in a community that really “buys” into the concept of public murals. Simple flyers with a tear-off portion asking for donations to a local project can be distributed through local merchants, service clubs, churches etc. Some murals have been funded through the sponsorship of “blocks” of the mural. For long term fundraising it important to develop mailing lists. Don’t be shy to send more than one solicitation each year but give each outreach a new angle.

Fundraising events
These are limited only by your imagination. They include silent and live auctions, “rainbow” auctions, bake sales, concerts and much more. Some events are done for promotional purposes but can generate income as well.

These include bingo, Nevada (break-open tickets) raffles. In Ontario, these are provincially regulated through the local municipality and require a lottery license.

Merchandise sales
Several mural projects have been funded by the sale of prints, calendars, books and other merchandise. Chemainus, B.C. is very successful with the sales of their book. Mural Routes has funded three murals from the sales of prints. A note of caution. It is possible to be over enthusiastic about the potential revenue from sales. You don’t want to incur debts that you can’t repay through purchase of merchandise that doesn’t sell. Postcards and T shirts are better used for promotion than fundraising.

There can be great cost savings in getting donations of products and services for your project. These are often much easier to get than cash donations. The donation of scaffolding, paint, supplies, printing might be available in your community.

Partnership programs
Sharing the costs and labour with a community, arts or service group is another way of saving expenses.

The energy, enthusiasm and leadership from individuals within a community, municipality or business group usually drive these projects. That energy can be contagious. Fan the flame and use it to raise funds to make the projects happen. Nothing captivates more successfully than the sincerity and passion of those who are dedicated to improving their communities for the benefit of everyone.

February 2002