Website eases process for arts donations

mgarfield@newsobserver.comDecember 30, 2012 

  • To get involved Visit and follow links to the Raleigh/Wake County page.

— With a few clicks, people in Wake County can bring an artist’s vision to life.

This month, the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County launched, a fundraising website built around a pretty simple concept.

Arts organizations list needs for a specific project. Visitors to the site then pick a need and make a donation of any amount.

The idea is to give people an easy way to donate directly to local arts, science and history endeavors that appeal to their interests. Projects range from $100 to $2,500 – meaning you don’t have to be a wealthy philanthropist to make a difference. Nine projects were listed last week, from Community Music School to N.C. Poetry on the Bus, a program that installs placards containing poetry on R-Line buses in downtown Raleigh.

Local arts advocates spoke highly of the concept, calling it a tech-savvy way to tap new donors at a time when the slow economy has sapped traditional forms of giving.

“I think it is cool,” said Sarah Powers, chairwoman of the city’s arts commission.

PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, hopes to co-produce a two-CD anthology with Old Hat Records to tell the story of North Carolina’s role in the early development of country and bluegrass music. The organization will try to raise $2,500 toward the effort in time for next year’s World of Bluegrass convention in Raleigh.

“This offers us a platform to do some quick-hit fundraising,” said director William Lewis. “It’s important because we’re able to raise money for things that are happening now. We have a tight timeline of getting it done.”

The program makes sense because it allows donors to give at a variety of different levels and choose the projects they want to help fund, said Mary Poole, director of Artspace in downtown.

For each project, a color-coded “amount raised” bar shows visitors how much is needed to meet the goal. The concept originated in Charlotte, where that city’s Arts & Science Council wanted to create a cultural marketplace to connect donors with worthy causes.

In Raleigh, the program is similar to Activate Good, a local nonprofit that connects people with volunteer opportunities. People can sign up to volunteer, post pictures and video, and connect with other volunteers and opportunities. The group works with more than 100 nonprofits in Wake County and has mobilized more than 2,500 volunteers since it started in 2005.

Garfield: 919-836-4952

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