A! Magazine for the Arts

Dee Sproll, president of Arts Alliance Mountain Empire, welcomes workshop participants.

Dee Sproll, president of Arts Alliance Mountain Empire, welcomes workshop participants.

IN FOCUS: Fundraising/Marketing Workshop A Success

March 23, 2008

A free workshop, "Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations, Marketing for Artists," was presented by Arts Alliance Mountain EmpireMarch 7, 2008 at ETSU Bristol.

AAME President Dee Sproll greeted workshop attendees with a statistical profile of participants in the event. She said:

a) Two days ago, there were 83 people pre-registered.

b) 42 live in, or represent, organizations in Virginia

c) 37 live in, or represent, organizations in Tennessee. Thus, half of you are from Virginia, half of you are from Tennessee.

d) Four of you are from North Carolina. How wonderful, and we hope you will think about ways we can serve you as well. AAME prides itself on being a regional organization that serves the region, and your being here today reflects our outreach and our coverage.


  • Jayne Duehring, Director of Advancement for Barter Theatre, discussed "The ABC's of Fundraising"
  • Author Joe Tennis, visual artist Suzanne Stryk, and fiber artist John Gunther talked about their personal marketing strategies

Afterwards, each speaker offered a question-and-answer session in other meeting rooms.


Letter to the Editor:
Fundraising/Marketing Workshop A Success

RE: Free Workshop, Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations, Marketing for Artists, presented by Arts Alliance Mountain Empire on March 7, 2008

First, congratulations on another very successful workshop. This is the third such workshop I have attended and, once again, it was excellent; your venue and subjects were well chosen and the speakers very knowledgeable.

Ms. Jane Duehring's presentation on Fundraising was not only well done but it touched on nearly every aspect of the fundraising process needed by the average nonprofit. Ms. Duehring's question and answer period was very comprehensive and addressed specific questions from those in attendance. It is clear the Ms Duehring is a true professional and the Barter Theatre is fortunate to have her on staff.

What I found of particular interest were the short presentations delivered by the author, the painter (visual artist), and the fiber artist. Each of their presentations addressed the ability to succeed in their respective markets. While very different, they were much the same in terms of the need to understand their market, how to reach the market and the business techniques necessary to promote their product and to compete on their own.

Not only does an artist have to develop their specific talent, elevate their skills, select their niche product and refine their ability to communicate with the product, they also have to become the sole proprietor of their business. None of the presenters discussed their passion about writing, painting or weaving, it was about what it took to get into business and succeed. It was about their efforts to identify their market, research, develop brochures/promotions, networking opportunities, self-sufficiency, use of the Internet and developing their selling techniques. While these well-chosen artists have years of experience, they obviously have to understand their products, current trends and market conditions to stay ahead in their field.

Providing the instruction and sharing those experiences certainly gave the artist and nonprofit a much better appreciation of the fundraising process and underscored the need to develop a case statement, generate board interest and creating a plan. Please let your readers know that SCORE Bristol has experienced nonprofit consultants that can help with board development, strategic, fundraising, public relations, volunteer planning and outcome/performance measurement. SCORE operates out of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and provides FREE assistance to our regions nonprofits and small businesses. Certainly every organization has different problems, priorities and motivations: our confidential, one-on-one assistance is tailored to the specific organization, issue or circumstance. Your readers can contact SCORE at 423-989-4850.

The fundraising and sustainability topics discussed in your workshop are not short-term issues; they require careful planning, participation and teamwork. The mind-set for such programs should be long term and begin with establishing the requirements, details and policies. Ideally, it can take months to develop your plan and organization before a comprehensive fundraising program can begin. It makes sense to get the fundraising process started as soon as possible.

Very truly yours

Gary McGeough
Nonprofit Consultant
SCORE Bristol
20 Volunteer Parkway
Bristol, TN 37620
Tel: 423-989-4850
Email: mcgeough@btes.tv
Website: www.bristolscore.org