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Technology and the New World of Fundraising

Potential applicants to our programs often ask me about available scholarships and grants. While we have several suggestions and resources for these ( for example), I want to highlight two ways that new technology has offered fundraising opportunities that weren’t available to the same degree even five years ago. The first may look familiar to you, but the second has really grabbed my attention recently.

Crowd Funding

When I went abroad for the first time, I wrote a letter that I sent via snail mail to everyone I could think of and received checks in the mail that I then took to the bank to cash. Nowadays, there are many crowd-funding websites where all of this is handled seamlessly online. PAA has been partnering with one of these sites called FundMyTravel since they began several years ago, and we have had many participants launch successful fundraising campaigns.  This is an amazing resource where you can start an online funding campaign with support from the FundMyTravel team, which includes an Online Fundraising Toolkit, an Offline Fundraising Guide, automated reminders to help you keep your campaign page active and fresh, and personalized support from a team of technicians that will advise you on making your fundraiser a success.  We know that international travel is not cheap, and we’re excited to help you raise the support you need to make your program happen.  Here’s an example of a volunteer who raised enough money to cover his entire round-trip flight to the Galapagos for our theater volunteer program:

Fundraising Concerts

As performing artists, one unique edge we have on other students, interns, and volunteers going abroad is that people regularly pay money to see us on stage. Several accepted applicants have put this to good use by raising a great deal of money for their programs.

Juliana Baioni, who did our music internship program in Brazil, held a flute recital to raise money for her program. Here’s a video of her playing a song at her recital:

She also took advantage of online crowd funding and raised $3,545! You can check out her campaign here:

Another example, and one that really blew me away, was a family of four who is doing our Music Volunteering in the Galapagos program for four months. Kent, the father of the family, is a music school teacher, and has led his band “Kentucky T. Dutchersmith and the Rubber Band” for several years, described as “creative and bluesy folk-rock, socially conscious and eclectic, humorous and original—fun songs that inspire all ages to sing along.” I can tell you for sure that if you ever see this band perform, you will definitely want to sing along.

On a warm Friday night, I sat on my couch enjoying a gin and tonic to welcome summer and paid a well-deserved $15 to watch Kent and his family give a truly entertaining show through an online performing platform called Concert Window.  The family and other invited musical guests played a benefit concert to raise money for the volunteer program, but they didn’t limit themselves to audience members who lived in Goshen, Indiana where the concert was happening. Anyone in the world with the link to their show was invited to pay $1 or more to log in and enjoy the music on their computer. They had over 200 people participate!

To give you some of the highlights from the concert, Kent is a nose flute virtuoso. That’s right, the nose flute. He says it’s the only instrument of which he can afford the “Lamborghini” version. In one song, titled “Concerto for Nose Flute, Cello, Shaker, Tambourine, and Honking Horn to be Played by one Person in C,” Kent did just that. And to add an extra international flair, he explained that he bought the Indian honking horn at Goodwill on half-off day, meaning that he got it for $0.50 instead of $1.00. Some time later, a man from India saw him perform and told him afterwards that it is a genuine honking horn from an Indian taxi. Check out Kent playing all of these instruments at once during a symphony concert in 2006.  You definitely want to see this…

To me, these kinds of innovative fundraising techniques are the epitome of creativity and perfectly represent the spirit of Performing Arts Abroad…a spirit that encourages performing artists to put themselves out there, take risks, chart new territory, and ultimately claim ownership for the development of their own craft.

Written by Reynolds Whalen
Director of Performing Arts Abroad
To read more about Reynolds, go here.

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