A new mix of marketing strategies attracted 55.2 percent more new donors and 6.7 percent more total donations -- a record $4.9 million -- to the Oregon Cultural Trust in 2017. The funds will support fiscal year 2019 grants to cultural organizations across the state.
"We changed it up a bit, investing more of our resources in grassroots marketing," said Cultural Trust Executive Director Brian Rogers. "The goal was to have as many one-on-one conversations with cultural donors as possible. These results validate that strategy. We are looking forward to investing the increased funding in cultural activities throughout Oregon."
"People are the best communicators of how the cultural tax credit works," said Cultural Trust Board Chair Chuck Sams. "Our teams attended countless cultural events to talk with patrons about using the tax credit to double the statewide impact of their cultural giving. It is gratifying that Oregonians answered the call to continue strengthening Oregon's cultural community and overall quality of life."
The Cultural Trust contracted with bell+funk of Eugene and Artslandia of Portland to help plan and implement its 2017 marketing campaign. Working with Trust staff, they launched a new Ambassador program, a comprehensive online toolkit, a Make-a-Match game to engage event patrons and a first-ever Cultural Trust phone bank. They also adjusted campaign creative to better tell grant impact stories and helped to strengthen promotional partnerships with cultural and media partners.
Cultural Trust board members actively participated, hosting Ambassador events and submitting letters to the editor to media outlets across the state.
The $4.9 million fundraising total -- up from just shy of $4.6 million in 2016 -- includes 9,767 donations and 1,642 new donors, up from 1,058 in 2016. It also includes $406,827 raised through the Willamette Week Give!Guide, a 3 percent increase over 2016.
More than half of the money raised will be distributed directly to Oregon's cultural groups this summer; the remainder will grow the Cultural Trust permanent fund. Cultural Trust grants are distributed through five Statewide Cultural Partners -- Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Humanities and the Oregon State Office of Historic Preservation -- as well as to 45 county/tribal coalitions and directly to cultural nonprofits via Cultural Development Grants.
The more than 100 projects supported by Cultural Development Grants in FY2018 include:
the "Racing to Change: Oregon's Civil Rights Years" interactive exhibit at Oregon Historical Society and community programming by the Oregon Black Pioneers in Salem;
theater lighting and sound equipment upgrades for the Florence Events Center;
the renovation of the historic Baker Orpheum Theatre to become a community performing arts center in Baker City;
exhibits and programs that highlight the LBGTQ community and Native youth as part of a Cultural Diversity Initiative by the High Desert Museum in Bend; and
transforming a major gallery at Portland Children's Museum into The Studio - a clay, maker and multi-purpose art space for families.
For a full list of Cultural Trust grant projects, including links to Cultural County Coalitions and several hundred county projects they fund, visit www.culturaltrust.org.