The Oregon Cultural Trust is an amazing program that funds arts and culture all over the state through a tax credit. (Ours is the only state in the nation to fund culture this way – it’s that awesome.) Oregonians give to the Cultural Trust and get their donation back as a tax credit. It costs them nothing. But the message is complex, and when you use words like “tax credit,” many glaze over and change the subject. In fact, only about 5% of eligible Oregonians were taking advantage of the credit. Our campaign goal was to attract new donors.
While previous campaigns leaned heavily on television advertising in the Portland market, our approach went grassroots. We spoke one-on-one to arts and culture patrons and donors. We tabled in event lobbies. We presented to boards of directors. We hosted house parties, and got our friends to do the same.
We secured pre-show stage announcements, and ran ads next to donor lists within performance programs. (We knew donors would be looking for their name and others on that list. We all do it.)
We followed up with targeted email and social media messaging to reach the art-loving audience and send them to the donate button.
The Cultural Trust saw 50% more new donors support the Trust in 2017 than in 2016. That translated into a 7% increase in donations, the biggest annual increase the Trust had experienced since its inception, totaling nearly $5 million. (If you donate to arts and culture in Oregon and you aren’t taking advantage of this tax credit, call us. Really. We’ll tell you all about it.)