Subscribe to ArtsWatch 8: Getting down to business

How ArtsWatch operates, dollars and cents

Albert Robida, A Night at the Opera in the Year 2000

Maybe you’ve missed some of our previous fundraising posts in this cycle? Of course you have. So here they are, in order!

Intro: Become a member of ArtsWatch!

Subscribe to ArtsWatch 2: Yes, the arts are important

Subscribe to ArtsWatch 3: The arts are really important here

Subscribe to ArtsWatch 3.5: A pause to refresh and look around

Subscribe to ArtsWatch 4: Is journalism a dirty word?

Subscribe to ArtsWatch 5: Renovating traditional journalism

Subscribe to ArtsWatch 6: Guiding principles department

Subscribe to ArtsWatch 7: Dealing with criticism

So, for this post, I’ve promised a discussion of how we’re hoping that ArtsWatch will work as a sustainable, nonprofit, meaning simply, where’s the money going to come from and where will it go once it arrives.

Where it’s going is the easy one!

The 1804 silver dollar: We like it!

ArtsWatch is dedicated to developing, working with and paying arts writers for their work. As I’ve said, that’s about the only way to ensure that the extremely interesting and also difficult business of investigating our culture and how the arts reflect and change it gets done. The writers of ArtsWatch put in their time and they resource their knowledge, and we want to pay them for it. And beyond the technology and business services it takes to keep a small journalism project going, that’s where the money goes: To the writers for their activities.

As I’ve argued, we think this engagement is in the public interest (we do it all for you!), and so we made ArtsWatch a nonprofit (our 501(c)(3) application is pending with the IRS).

We don’t want to charge the visitors to our site to enter (“create a paywall”), because that defeats the purpose, really. We want as many people as possible to see our journalism, because that will amplify the discussion of local culture, which is one of the central purposes of ArtsWatch. We know that paywalls seriously restrict the number of visitors to news sites. (If no other fundraising idea works, we may try this as a last resort.)


So, that leaves the usual fundraising options for nonprofits.

Memberships/individual donations: That’s you! We’ve designed this option to look a lot like Oregon Public Broadcasting’s membership drive, and it has the same idea. A lot of you give a little money. We know there are tens of thousands of great organizations out there, including arts groups, and all of them need your support. We’re hoping that you think the work we do here is valuable, too, a little like subscribing to the arts section of a daily newspaper (in the old days), and that you’ll want to help make sure that deeply engaged arts writing about the local scene will continue to exist. And then you’ll click the appropriate box!

Sponsorships: We’ve started to gather some sponsors for the upcoming season. So far, most of them are arts groups, and we know that arts groups can’t afford to spend a lot of money on marketing and ArtsWatch. Still, they think we are important enough to help keep us going. You’ll see them mentioned in sponsorship spaces on the page in upcoming days!

Grants: ArtsWatch got into business primarily because of a New Voices grant from the Knight Foundation, administered by J-Lab. Our fiscal agent for that grant was OPB. But we really can’t apply for more grants until we receive our 501(c)(3), and the IRS moves slowly and inscrutably. Our application has been in process since February. (Hey, IRS, if you’re reading, “We love you guys!!!”)

So, yes, those are the primary ways we can raise money. We also do some commission work for TravelPortland, and we’ve held one special event, which just about broke even!

All of this is just to say, really, that your membership means a LOT to us. It means the difference between being able to keep ArtsWatch going and not keeping it going, when it comes right down to it. So far, we’ve received a few dozen memberships totaling close to $3,000, which is a great start (and thanks again to all of you who’ve donated!). But robust arts coverage is going to cost a lot more than that, isn’t it? Yes, it is.

We’ll continue talking journalism and money tomorrow, just to keep us on our toes! But maybe you’ve had enough? Maybe you’re ready to join the ArtsWatch bandwagon?

That’s so easy to do! For example, you can become a member, just like the big boys do at Oregon Public Broadcasting…

Payment suggestions

…and you can donate ANY amount, and any amount would be most welcome!

You can also avoid electronic payments altogether by sending us a check directly:

Oregon ArtsWatch
2146 NE 14th Ave.
Portland, OR 97212

And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter once you become a member or donate!


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