A Page from Our Handbook: Marketing Tips and Strategies

Documentation of On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Genocide and Slavery, a performance by Dread Scott, 2014. Photographed by Mark Von Holden

Documentation of “On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Genocide and Slavery,” a performance by Dread Scott, 2014. Photographed by Mark Von Holden

These tips come straight from our Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook—a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendees, written by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

Marketing is the process of communicating about you and your work and the methods you use as a means to foster interest from others. Remember that no one cares as much you do about your art. Communicating about your work is ultimately your responsibility and is crucial to building your career. You should develop a marketing strategy and commit to doing something to promote your work each day.

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Page from our Handbook: Seeking Funding from Individuals

ASI 2012 Participants writing goals- Goal Settings exercize2c_CROPPED
Individuals donate the vast majority of funds to nonprofit organizations in America, whether it’s regular folks writing a personal check, making a monthly donation via a website, offering free services or supplies, or buying a ticket to a benefit party. Successful fundraisers devote significant time to soliciting such support; they conduct campaigns, produce special events and engage the community.

Whether you’re an individual artist going cc_icons_color-money-smallit alone or you work with a theater company or other artist collective, fundraising from individuals is increasingly important. We know it can be difficult to get started; we want to help you ask yourself the right questions so you can approach donors from the strongest position and feel secure in what you’re offering to contributors. If you’re raising funds for a socially or community engaged project, we encourage you to dig deeper with Stephanie Bleyer’s May 7th webinar, “Producing and Funding Your Community Engagement Campaign.” Read more about Stephanie here.

Getting Ready: Key Questions
As you begin thinking about your campaign, you’ll want to begin researching potential donors and strategies; deciding what donors will get when they give; and preparing to do follow-up, give thanks and keep track of donations long-term. You’ll also want to ask yourself the following questions before you ever ask anyone for anything. You don’t have to answer each one, but read through them all. They are interrelated, and together they should help you develop a strategy that plays to your strengths as a person and as an artist.
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A Page From Our Handbook: What Goes Into a Project or Annual Budget?

Artists at Work

Creating a budget for your next project (or your next year) can be tricky, especially when you plan on providing that information to a funder, in the hopes of securing a grant. How much is too much? How do you plan for the unexpected? And just where do you fit into the picture? Below is a helpful guide for budgeting, that you can use as a template. Are you a writer who wants to learn more about how budgeting plays into requests for funding? Register for editor Ethan Nosowsky’s upcoming webinar, “Applying for Grants & Residencies: Strategies for Writers”. And check out other helpful online learning opportunities (including Real Life Budgeting Webinar) on our calendar!

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Reaching Constituencies: Brainstorming a Targeted Marketing Strategy

Artists in Conversation

Marketing yourself and your artistic work can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, marketing may be closer to your creative process than you think. The following exercise, developed by Creative Capital President and Executive Director Ruby Lerner, is a step-by-step method for using brainstorming (and other people!) to help define and expand your audience. 

For more marketing suggestions, check out Monday’s “Creating a Marketing Strategy” webinar with artist Dread Scott.

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A Page From Our Handbook: Intro to Budgeting for Artists

A photo from our recent workshop at Flight School in Pittsburgh, PA

Every few weeks we post tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post is packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

Budgets: A budget represents your work in numbers. It also indicates how you value aspects of your work in financial terms. The budget is a big part of fundraising. It helps you determine what your expenses really are and how you meet them, even if you are your primary supporter.

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A Page from Our Handbook: Writing a Proposal

Image from Matthew Moore's (2008 Visual Arts) Creative Capital Project "Digital Farm Collective"

Time-lapse footage of lettuce growing, from Matthew Moore’s (2008 Visual Arts) Creative Capital Project “Digital Farm Collective”

Every few weeks we post tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post is packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

Proposal Basics
Proposals come in many shapes and sizes: from simple fellowship applications that require a work sample, a brief description and bio, to lengthy project proposals that involve budget spreadsheets, significant writing and other supporting materials. Frequently we are creating proposals for work we have not yet completed. This means we have to find ways to make a panelist or program officer see what does not yet exist. It’s a big challenge, but a worthy one.

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A Page from Our Handbook: Building Relationships With Funders

A still from Mondo' Bizarro's Creative Capital project "Cry You One;" photo by Svetlana Volic with WWNO New Orleans Public Radio

A still from Mondo Bizarro’s Creative Capital project “Cry You One;” photo by Svetlana Volic with WWNO New Orleans Public Radio

Every few weeks we post tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post is packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

The road to success involves more than a single application and a ‘yes’ or ‘no‘ response. With grantmakers and donors of all stripes you’ll need to build relationships, just as you would when working with other partners—venues, galleries or collaborators. Funders and donors talk to each other and change jobs. Similarly, a regular contributor may love your work enough to bring friends and potential contributors to your next show—all you have to do is ask! The great impression you make on one funder may not yield immediate results, but it may help you down the line. Continue reading

A Page From Our Handbook: Intro to Funding for Art Projects

Doheel Lee (2013 Performing Arts), The Mago Project

Doheel Lee (2013 Performing Arts), The Mago Project

Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

Getting Started: Almost all of your fundraising will be done through partnerships: with venues and presenters, advisory boards, and directly with funders and donors. Creative Capital advocates thorough and clear communications about money betwen funders, venues and artists. The better you articulate what you want, what you do and how much it costs, the better off the entire field will be. Thinking of your funders and donors as partners will help you find more opportunities and will make you easier to work with. You will be ready when a venue says, “We found a commission to apply for your project. We need 250 words and a few images. TODAY!” Conversely, if you find a funding source your partners haven’t reached out to yet, you’ll know how to help them through the necessary steps to bring more funding to your project. Partners will want to work with you again and again because you help them help you.

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A Page From Our Handbook: Your PR Timeline

The online promo page for Rodney Evans’ Creative Capital project, “The Happy Sad,” which premieres this week in New York and Los Angeles.

Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook—a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops here.

Your PR Timeline
As you develop your promotional strategy and the elements of your press kit, it’s important to remember that marketing your event will take more than a few weeks, as most publications have strict deadlines and most people need multiple alerts that your event is happening before they will attend. We recommend beginning this PR journey six to nine months before your event; here are the specific steps you’ll need to take on that journey.

Six months before event:

  1. Make a master list of your targeted media. Research their requirements for submitting event listings or press information and the relevant deadlines, noting their preferred method of submission (example: do they prefer you mail or email your press kit?). Make a calendar noting when each mailing/email should go out leading up to the event.
  2. Produce the materials needed for all your selected media outlets (see contents of Press Kit). Continue reading

A Page From Our Handbook: Assembling a Press Kit

Online press kit for "Leviathan" (2013)Online press kit for Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel’s Creative Capital-supported project, Leviathan

Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook—a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops here.

Open CallDevelop A Press Kit
A Press or Info Kit is a great way to present your promotional materials in one cohesive, compelling package. A Press Kit can exist as a printed packet or in electronic format as a download on your website or your presenter’s site. It usually includes:

  1. Cover letter (for printed kits; always customize it!)
  2. Work samples that are labeled
  3. Artist biography and/or one-page resume
  4. Invitation/announcement to opening/event/reading (if available)
  5. Recent reviews, or a pull-quote sheet (excerpts from reviews, essays or other types of writing about your work) Continue reading