Two arts organizations awarded grants to improve data and relationship management
Engaging Creative Minds in Charleston and Long Bay Symphony in Myrtle Beach are the inaugural recipients of a new Constituent Relationship Management Services grant, created by the South Carolina Arts Commission to help arts organizations improve how they use technology and data to cultivate and maintain relationships with members, donors and other stakeholders. Each grant is valued at more than $13,000 and is being awarded as pro bono services, including implementation of the CiviCRM database system, data conversion, campaign consulting, and customized guidance on fundraising best practices. The grant is a result of a collaboration between the South Carolina Arts Commission, Lowcountry Genius LLC, Custom Development Solutions, and Open-Issue, LLC and kicked off with a free webinar outlining the benefits of improving constituent relationship management practices. Participating organizations included small two-person shops, larger organizations with several development staff members, newer organizations and those with long histories. The range of organizational size and maturity is not surprising to Ken May, S.C. Arts Commission executive director. "Managing constituent data well is a common concern, and frankly sometimes a struggle, among many organizations, no matter their experience level. Staff members are experts in creating and delivering arts experiences, but may not have the time or knowledge to figure out the best practices for their database. Our goal with this grant is to offer resources to help arts organizations build capacity and reach that next level of maturity in fulfilling their missions." Webinar participants were invited to apply for the grant. The organizations selected demonstrated the strategic planning and commitment of resources necessary to support the implementation of a constituent relationship management system. For the nearly 30-year-old Long Bay Symphony, implementing a CRM system will streamline current data processes, save time and help the organization cultivate more enhanced relationships with its consumers, according to General Manager Kim Williams. "This grant award will allow the LBS to compete with larger organizations to better serve our patrons, monitor giving, personalize messaging, and enhance donor relationships at different levels. We are thrilled to use this support to take fundraising to the next level." Engaging Creative Minds is a newer nonprofit, just beginning a third year of programming in schools. "This grant will give us the tools and training to consolidate our current lists of teachers, parents, donors, and artists into manageable systems that help us with our marketing and fundraising efforts," says Executive Director Robin Berlinksy. "In early May we launch our first annual fundraising campaign, "One-in-A-Million," and in June we begin our six-week summer camp. This new system will set us up for success in recording and managing the data for these efforts as well as our day-to-day operations. The system will also grow with us as we expand locally and around the state. The timing could not be more perfect. Another round of Constituent Relationship Management grants will be offered in the future. For more information, contact Joy Young, program director for leadership and organizational development, (803) 734-8696 or visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com. Learn more about Lowcountry Genius LLC, Custom Development Solutions, and Open-Issue, LLC by visiting their websites. This collaborative endeavor accomplishes goals of the Long Range Plan for the Arts in South Carolina as well as the South Carolina Arts Commission's mission to "develop a thriving arts environment" for the benefit of all South Carolinians.