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How Does a Performing Arts Organization Raise $5 Million During an Economic Crisis?

San Francisco Ballet shows resilience and ingenuity during COVID-19 closure

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How does one of the country’s largest ballet companies survive when all performances for the 2020 season are cancelled?

A brilliant fundraising strategy boosted by technology.

Just take a visit to the San Francisco Ballet (SFB) website, and read about their Critical Relief Fund. With a fundraising goal of five million dollars, donors can choose to support a specific area of need like dancer support, staff support, musician support, health insurance for the SFB workforce, online content, and more.

When someone donates, not only do they choose where the money goes, they get something in return like a special video message from company dancers, an orchestra download, or a signed photo from a principal dancer.

Plus, when a donation is made, donors can leave comments in a live feed that scrolls on the website. In a video clip, SFB Principal Dancer, Sasha De Sola and her adorable dog Tilly highlighted some comments left by donors.

Donors can even start their own fundraising team and compete on a leaderboard with other teams for top dollars raised.


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From June 30th through July 6th, anyone could access a livestream of “Spellbound,” a series of recorded performances from SBT's 2020 Opening Night Gala. During the initial livestream on YouTube, an international audience left a steady flow of chat comments in Russian, Chinese, English and Spanish. (This is a great reminder that with virtual events, your audience has no geographic limits!)

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In between the recorded gala performances, viewers were encouraged to donate by texting the keyword “SFB” to the short code 56512. How does text to donate work? In this case, after texting SFB, the donor receives a text back with a link to the organization's online donation page. By adding a mobile fundraising component to the campaign, people could donate easily from the convenience of their cellphone. (Click here for more details on text to give services.)

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Will SFB reach their five million dollar fundraising goal?
With commitments from members of their Board of Trustees, every gift to the Critical Relief Fund will be matched, up to $1 million. A strategically placed fundraising thermometer stretches across the top of the SFB website showing real-time progress. With more than $4.2 million raised as of this blog post, it certainly looks possible.

 

Feeling generous? Donate to the San Francisco Ballet today
by texting SFB to 56512!


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How Does a Performing Arts Organization Raise $5 Million During an Economic Crisis?

San Francisco Ballet shows resilience and ingenuity during COVID-19 closure

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